The Evolution of Ben Simmons

April 8th, 2018 by Christian | Filed under Basketball, General, NBA, Sixers.

By Christian Klemash

Ben Simmons has evolved. And this evolution hasn’t taken centuries, decades or years. It’s taken less than one full season in the NBA.

Relentless defense. Orchestrating the offense. Vocal leadership. Unparalleled court vision. Physical domination. Points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks. Simmons is doing it all. And he’s only 21. As of today, I would take him over any other player in the NBA. He is the best player in the league – a 6’10” point guard who can dribble through a minefield, play power forward and pass like Magic Johnson. He is the complete package – and he’s playing like he knows it.

The numbers don’t lie. Simmons has eleven triple-doubles this season (and counting), more than any rookie in the modern history of the game. Magic Johnson had seven in his debut season. (Note: Magic’s Lakers won the NBA title that year, a feat Simmons surely is aware of and has in his sights).

The only other rookie in NBA history to have more triple-doubles than Simmons is Oscar ‘The Big O’ Robertson, who had 41 way back in 1961-62. And not to take anything away from Mr. Robertson, but that was fifty-six years ago. It was a different era and a different game back
then. Heck, JFK was still President, the moon landing was still eight years away, The Beatles hadn’t even invaded America yet and the set-shot was still in vogue!

Today’s players are bigger, stronger, faster and better than they were in 1962. The game is much faster, there’s a shot clock, a three-point line and instant media scrutiny and access 24/7.

So what Simmons is doing statistically is impressive in historic proportions. But what may be more impressive is how he plays the game and the effect it has on his team. As of this writing, the Sixers have ripped off 12 straight wins (and counting) and are tied with LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers for the third seed in the East. The last time the Sixers won 12 in a row was January-February of 1990 with Hall of Famer Charles Barkley leading the charge. But these Sixers are peaking at the right time, heading into the playoffs, where, well, as the Eagles proved, anything can happen.

Simmons appears to be one of those players who makes everyone around him better. A Bird, a Magic, a Michael. One of them.

Only time will tell if that’s the case, but that’s how I see it. Heading into the postseason, it’s a pretty good view. And he’s only 21.

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