Is 76ers' Ben Simmons Viewed as a Top Player to Build Around?
Philadelphia 76ers guard/forward Ben Simmons has built himself a solid resume so far through his first three NBA seasons. In year one, Simmons earned himself Rookie of the Year honors. He also claimed First-Team All-Defense recently, while also picking up Third-Team All NBA. Not to mention, in two of his first three years, the 24-year-old Sixer has made the All-Star team twice.
Despite having a notable list of accolades, Simmons still sees a fair share of mixed reviews regarding his game. Considering he's played a majority of his career at point guard with a lack of a jump shot, Simmons has built up quite a list of critics from NBA spectators and even Sixers fans.
But just because Simmons' jump shot has been mostly non-existent through three seasons doesn't mean talent evaluators around the NBA see him as a guy the 76ers can't build around. Recently, Michael Scotto of HoopHype spoke with 15 different talent evaluators around the league to see which players they would prefer to build a team around. After getting the results from six executives, four general managers, and five scouts, Ben Simmons became the ninth-most popular name on the poll.
“Simmons is 6-foot-10, has the second-best vision of the list, maybe best,” one executive told HoopsHype. “He’s fast as s— with the ball.”
"Coming into the league, some compared Simmons to Magic Johnson, which was deemed “f—— blasphemous,” by one Eastern Conference executive. Through his first three seasons, Simmons has averaged 16-8-8. Not too shabby for a player who is still working on developing a consistent mid-range and 3-point jumper."
Nine out of thirteen isn't bad -- especially considering the wide range of young and talented players that emerged over the last couple of years. While Simmons places in front of Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, De'Aaron Fox, and Karl Anthony-Towns, the Sixers All-Star sits behind an impressive list of talent, including Jamal Murray, Zion Williamson, Bam Adebayo, Donovan Mitchell, Ja Morant, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, and Luka Doncic.
Defensively, Simmons is the cream of the crop on the list. Offensively, he has visible flaws. If Simmons can really step out of his comfort zone and begin developing his weak spots on the offensive side of the ball in year four, though, then the Sixers will more than likely feel good about focusing on building around the young star.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him Twitter: @JGrasso_