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NBA Draft Profile: Ben Simmons
- Updated: May 31, 2016
6-10, 240 lbs.
STRENGTHS: For a kid who is 6-10, 240, Simmons possesses an uncanny ability to see the floor and distribute the ball. He’s an elite rebounder and an elite passer, which combined with his size, puts him in pretty special company in terms of skill set. He’s not LeBron James–nobody in their right mind believes he’ll be that good–but his game at least compares to the King on a smaller scale.
Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 boards and 4.9 assists per game last season for a disappointing LSU team that failed to reach the NCAA Tournament. He shot 56% from the floor and 67% from the free throw line. He doesn’t have a reliable jump shot, but was able to score by outsmarting and overpowering college defenders. Those who saw him play in the Nike Skills Academy say he held his own in one-on-one matchups with James Harden and Anthony Davis, and he’s got the length and strength to become an excellent defender in the NBA.
Combine that with a good demeanor, a beneficial frame, and solid upbringing which includes playing in Australia. His father, Dave Simmons, played in the country’s NBL for years. When Simmons moved to the States, he immediately became the No. 1 high school prospect in the country. This kid has been the next big thing for a while now. It’s not in his plans to fail.
WEAKNESSES: You don’t want to put too much stock into his team’s failures in college, but if this guy really is the franchise-changer that many believe him to be, how does LSU miss the NCAA Tournament? And how do the Tigers score just 13 points in the first half of a humiliating 71-38 loss to Texas A&M in the SEC tournament, with everything on the line? Not to put too much on one game, but the Aggies proved Simmons can be shut down–in college. That doesn’t bode well for the NBA.
Some would also question Simmons’ competitiveness and commitment after he failed to qualify for the Wooden Award because his GPA wasn’t high enough. He was also forced to miss a start against Tennessee due to “an academic matter,” according to NOLA.com.
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re criticizing Simmons, you’re nitpicking. There’s no question this kid has the talent to become a star–and his unique skill set gives him an even better chance of standing out and helping his teams win. Sixers fans should sleep well if their team nabs Simmons, but it’s also a legit question to ask whether or not Brandon Ingram will be better. We’d roll the dice on Ben, because he’s more unique, and he’s got so much room to grow.