Former Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard just wrapped up a season sharing the court with LeBron James. For the first time in his career, the 34-year-old big man witnessed the 35-year-old MVP go to work first-hand for almost 90 games.
With everything he knows about LeBron James -- Howard is qualified to make comparisons to the future Hall of Famer. And the newest member of the Philadelphia 76ers believes the team employs somebody whose game is quite similar.
On Wednesday, Dwight Howard met with the Philly media virtually for the first time since signing with the team late last week. Although Howard sang praises for both of the Sixers' young All-Stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons -- it was Simmons who received a comparison to one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen.
“Ben Simmons is a young LeBron who’s developing an overall game," Howard explained. "I love the way he plays; I love how unselfish he is, and how mean he can be to other teams, and that’s important. When you have your point guard coming down, dunking on people, flexing, getting big rebounds, talking trash, doing all those things, it drives you to want to be better.”
Howard isn't the first person to compare the former first-overall pick out of LSU to LeBron James, and he likely won't be the last. Although Simmons has heard his name mentioned next to LeBron's plenty of times throughout his first few seasons in the NBA, he's also heard tons of criticism regarding the glaring weakness of his game, which happens to be his lack of a jump shot.
Many know that if Simmons starts to knock down jumpers consistently, he'll undoubtedly find himself in the MVP conversation year in and year out. But even without the often-discussed lack of a jump shot, Simmons has shown to his NBA peers that he can still compete and draw comparisons to the NBA's "king."
“Watching him over the years, I see it,” Howard claimed in regards to Simmons. “He has an opportunity to be one of the greatest to ever play the game, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to actually give him some things that can help him along the way.”
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_