The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Ben Simmons, their hopeful future franchise cornerstone, with the first overall pick in this years draft. Since his time as the number one high school recruit and commitment to LSU, Simmons’ ability and potential have been clearly evident. Simmons has tremendous physical size , elite level athleticism and one of the quickest steps coming out of college.
To go along with Simmons’ elite physical tools, he boasts a wide variety of skills that makes him very dangerous.
Simmons’ best attribute, which was on display during the Summer League, is his passing ability and vision that most NBA players don’t have. To go along with his passing, Simmons is also a great finisher around the rim and has a developing low post game. Simmons will also rack-up a fair amount of steals and rebounds thanks his elite athleticism, ball awareness and timing.
Simmons is walking into an improving situation in Philadelphia, but one that might let him shine early. Simmons will likely play alongside a combination of Dario Saric, Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel at the two big men positions. Jerryd Bayless, Hollis Thompson, Gerald Henderson, Sergio Rodriguez and T.J. McConnell will be the primary guard options.
The combination of decent outside and mid-range shooting from the guards and solid play from the young big men can create a wide space for Simmons to operate the offense, create for his teammates and continue to grow as an all-around basketball player
Simmons has two big question marks waiting to be answered about his game: what position will he play and will he be able to develop his outside shooting?
What position Simmons will play is a problem that is bound to figure itself out sooner rather than later. Simmons is so talented, he will either be able to figure it out or the Sixers will base the game plan around him. His position will most similarly resemble a point forward, similar to LeBron James’ role, and will have the ball is his hands the majority of the time.
Simmons’ outside shooting is the bigger question mark, and could be the one thing that slows down his ascent to top of the league. It was a rare sight to see Simmons pull up, or even take a spot-up jumper during his lone season at LSU. However, Simmons showed some improvement and desire to stretch the floor during his six Summer League games.
Simmons is going to have a very good rookie campaign, followed by Rookie of the Year Honors. The offense will become progressively more based around Simmons as he becomes more comfortable with the speed of the NBA. He will finish his rookie year averaging somewhere between 13 to 18 points a game, around eight rebounds a game, and around nine assists a game.