Former LSU star and Philadelphia 76ers 1st year player Ben Simmons is leading all rookies in scoring, rebounding and assists, averaging 18.5 points, 9.6 boards, and 7.9 dimes this season.
Pacers head coach Nate McMillan says the 6-10 sweet-passing Simmons can do it all.
“It’s unique in the sense that Simmons is a 6-10 point guard. We haven’t seen that in a long time,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan told philly.com. “LeBron [James] is about as close as a big guard that’s handling the ball as much as he does. Magic [Johnson] was that other guy. The league really hasn’t seen the big point guards in a long time.”
McMillan’s words really hit the mark as Simmons’ 7.5 assists per game not only leads all rookies, but is fifth among all players in the NBA.
“Every time you see Simmons slashing into the paint you can count on something interesting happening,” wrote Deadspin’s Giri Nathan. “A sweet little pocket pass, a lob up to Joel Embiid, a kick-out to Robert Covington on the arc. Or he’ll just finish the dang job himself — he’s already fifth in the league in scoring in the paint, pouring in 13.8 points a game.”
“Best of luck to future generations of NBA defenders in their quest to guard a 6-foot-10 dude who can lead the fast break, and who can, at any juncture during his drive — even just one step past the free throw line — effortlessly pick up the ball and float it home,” added Nathan.
With his torrid play, Simmons, No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 Draft who missed the entire season last year, seems to be making up for lost time.
A college star at LSU, he averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game as a freshman in 2015-16.
The No. 1 recruit coming out of high school, Simmons averaged 27.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists at USA Today No. 1 Montverde Academy as a senior, leading the team to a 31-1 record and DICK’S championship.
Simmons also won the Naismith Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Morgan Wootten Award, MaxPreps Player of Year, and Gatorade Player of Year honors that year.
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