Ben Simmons made his first appearance for the Philadelphia 76ers yesterday when he took to the court in a Summer League affair against the Boston Celtics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Unfortunately, the 19-year-old could not break the Sixers' losing habit as they fell to a 102-94 defeat, but, Simmons did put in a very impressive performance for the time he was on the court.
The Australian teenager registered 10 points on 2-for-9 shooting, eight rebounds and five assists with just one turnover against the young Celtics unit and would surely have driven towards a triple-double had cramp not got the better of him in the second half.
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"I'm good," Simmons said after the game. "Just cramps. ... It's been about four months since I played. That's the main reason. I haven't played in a while."
The Sixers' newest gala addition knows how important the physical side of the NBA is and is taking the cramp as a sign he needs to concentrate on his condition before he graces the big time in October.
"That's the worst I've ever cramped, so I'm definitely going to stay on that," he said.
The LSU product's five assists from power forward has got people talking once again. Before he was drafted, Simmons was labelled as a modern-day hybrid of the forward position. He operates like a guard, but at 6'10" in the frontcourt he is being donned a point forward.
His coach Brett Brown can clearly see his newest star's unique skillset, but that's not to suggest he thinks operating him at the one spot would be a prudent move.
"I think the point-guard position is the hardest position to play in the NBA as a first-year player, let alone as a person that's played a four man his whole life," Brown said. "He would be all over the place. It seems quite reckless to do it, almost unfair. I hope to continue to be ambitiously creative at tapping into what he really can do, and in my heart of hearts I think he can do it."
Giannis Antetokounmpo proved last season that a 6'11" forward can play the point guard position successfully, with several triple-doubles. Does that set a precedent for Simmons?
"Everyone gets all twisted on what their version of a point guard is," Brown said. "When I say point guard I mean point guard. You've got the ball. You could call him Isiah Thomas, the old Isiah Thomas of my generation. You could call him Chris Paul. I mean point guard point guard. There are times I think that he can be a point guard. Not Draymond Green. Not LeBron. Not Lamar Odom. That's a point forward. I walk both lines at different moments. To start him off, we'll play him as a point forward."