Ben Simmons isn’t just passing the basketball, he’s surpassing most peoples’ expectations with his play in the NBA Summer League.
The 19-year-old Australian has shown that he’s a wizard with the rock, making outlandish, no-look passes to his teammates. From his playing days in Australia to dominating at Louisiana State University, Simmons’ hybrid style of play has garnered comparisons to the likes of LeBron James and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
With experience in the athletic European style and slower-paced American style of play, Simmons is looking to solidify a young but talented core of players with the Philadelphia 76ers. Ideally, he wants to do that on his own.
"There's only one Magic [Johnson], one LeBron [James], [and] hopefully one Ben Simmons," he said to GiveMeSport one day before being selected first overall in the NBA Draft on June 23.
In six Summer League games with the 76ers, Simmons averaged 10.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists in 28.8 minutes per game.
Simmons told reporters that his time with the 76ers thus far has “been perfect” and that he “couldn't ask for a better situation." With young stars like Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor. and oft-injured Joel Embiid in the fold – the latter two being friends from high school – Simmons’ adjustment period is going smoothly.
With his summer league obligations complete, Simmons will now prepare for the regular season. Philadelphia, coming off back-to-back seasons of owning the worst record in the NBA, are poised to trot out a revamped squad with higher expectations than seasons past. However, Simmons hopes he can contribute by cementing himself and getting rid of comparisons to other players.
“Everyone is going to try and compare players to each other but at the end of the day, one day, I want people to say 'he plays like Ben Simmons’," the 2016 SEC Freshman of the Year said.