The Sixers might have a better player than Joel Embiid.
Imagine how crazy that would have sounded last season during the electric 10-5 month of January, when JoJo looked like one of the biggest game changers in the Association. But the 6’10 point guard watching on from the bench in his street clothes knew the best was yet to come for the promising young team.
Ben Simmons has had the start to his career every Sixers fan imagined and more. A nightly triple-double threat, his 18/10/8 stat line is only matched in the NBA by some guy named Russell Westbrook. ‘The Fresh Prince’ described Tuesday night’s game against the Jazz as his worst yet. He put up 16 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. If that is Simmons’ floor, it’s going to be a lot of fun to witness him approach his ceiling in the coming years.
For now, Simmons has been receiving a ton of praise for his ability to play at such a high level so early in his career. From Kobe Bryant to Kevin Durant to Magic Johnson, everyone who is anyone seems to have something to say about the Rookie of the Year favorite.
Speaking to the media Saturday morning, Durant said, “Simmons, for his age and the way he plays, is a little different as far as just knowing how to play and his feel for the game. He’s still growing his game.”
Durant went on to describe how Simmons has already had a big impact on the Sixers’ offense. He pointed out that the Simmons-led Sixers are 2nd in the league in assists, behind his 7.8/game.
The most notable part of Simmons’ game thus far, however, has been his ability to go coast-to-coast and finish in transition. This ability has drawn Simmons comparisons to LeBron James because of how well they can both rebound, run the floor in transition, and finish through contact. These abilities in Simmons, however, were never expected to be so polished at this early stage in his career. He has shown so far that he is already one of the NBA’s best in this aspect.
(video courtesy NBC Sports Philadelphia)
Here, Simmons doesn’t grab the rebound, but shows his high-end speed and tight handle on the fastbreak and ability to play above the rim and finish strong.
This style of play has yielded great success for James as it not only makes him stand out, but brings out the best in his teammates as well. This is why James has brought his team to the NBA Finals in eight of his 14 seasons. Simmons hopes for similar results in Philly, as his supporting cast looks to be improving alongside him.
If Ben Simmons’ play in his first 11 professional games is any indicator, Sixers fans can look forward to watching an exciting brand of basketball for years to come. A few NBA Finals runs would be pretty exciting, too. What a time to Trust The Process.