After an agonising year stuck on the sidelines with injury, Ben Simmons finally made his long-awaited debut for the Philadelphia 76ers last night.
Despite a narrow 115-120 loss to the Washington Wizards in the nation's capital, the Australian showed his talent and what the Sixers have been waiting patiently for.
The 21-year-old posted 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists and didn't look overawed in his first NBA game.
After his extended wait to don the 76ers jersey, the youngster compared his first outing to being in a video game.
"It felt like I was playing 2K, honestly," Simmons said postgame.
"Just looking at Joel Embiid out there with the lights on his jersey. I was like, 'man, I'm actually here.'"
Simmons was selected with the number one overall pick in the 2016 draft but was ruled out for the whole of last season after suffering a foot injury.
He was initially ruled out for three months but Philadelphia took the decision to shut him down for the whole year in order for him to return to full health for this campaign.
The Aussie says he's at 100 percent now and looked nothing like a rookie against the Wizards as he played with poise and allowed the game to come to him instead of forcing anything.
"I was using my size and speed to my advantage, and I think I did a good job at that," he said. "I could have done it a few more times, maybe we would have won, but we're gonna get there. It would have been better if we got the win, but it's the first game. We have many more to go."
Head coach Brett Brown was full of praise for Simmons' performance and believes that there is still so much more to come from the Aussie.
"How about Ben Simmons' first game in the NBA?" Brown said.
"Really, there were times he could have finished even more. I feel that his first game was really exceptional. Really, really exceptional.
"Physically, we all see what he is as an athlete, and I think that his growth path, his improvement scale, can be off the charts."
The LSU product put his all-around game on display against Washington and showed that he's willing to be a Swiss army knife for the Sixers this season.
Even at such a young age, Simmons can become a leader for the franchise and the early signs of his relationship with Joel Embiid bode well for the team moving forward for the rest of the season.
"As a team we're getting there," he said. "It's exciting to see that. We didn't get the win, obviously, but I just know this team can be special. I'm looking forward to seeing how far we can get."