NBA Legend Dwyane Wade Urges Ben Simmons to 'Take it Now'

Justin Grasso

When you talk Philadelphia 76ers basketball, no matter what, two names always pop up in the conversation. One happens to be the All-Star center Joel Embiid. The other? The All-Star, positionless player, Ben Simmons.

As those two young guys are in the conversation of being some of the top players in their young class of players in the NBA, it's tough to avoid a discussion regarding those two when the topic of the Sixers come up.

While both of them receive a lot of credit -- they also receive tons of criticism as well. For Embiid, many say that he's out of shape, soft, injury-prone, and unmotivated. For Simmons, his critiques are quite familiar, as many pointed out his flaws before he even got into the NBA a few years back.

"Ben Simmons can't shoot!" You've probably heard that a dozen times if you ever talk hoops and the Sixers' third-year veteran gets brought up. And while the idea of Simmons not being able to actually shoot is debatable, one thing is for sure -- Simmons WON'T shoot the ball -- not far away from the rim, at least.

Fortunately, Simmons makes up for his unwillingness to let it fly by being a force on defense and still finding ways to score on offense. However, it's quite easy to acknowledge just how dominant Simmons could be if his medium-to-long-range shooting were even just the slightest threat to the opposition.

Recently, former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade added his two cents in on the discussion, and he sees what many see regarding Simmons. "I love Ben, I think Ben can be a star in this league," Wade stated. "I don't want him waiting for his opportunity. Take it now! A lot of guys do that, they wait and say 'oh next year, next year.' When I came in the league, third-year championship, I don't got time to wait."

Wade, who knows Simmons well, as they played against each other, swapped jerseys, and even trained together a handful of times throughout Simmons' NBA tenure is just looking out for the young star. While he acknowledges that at some point Simmons could be in the MVP conversation regularly like Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo is at this point in his career, Wade wants to see Simmons accomplish that now, rather than later.

"Take what you have and go at it, go after it and work, work, work, and that's what I want to see these guys do. I want Ben Simmons to look at what Giannis did and say, 'I'm not waiting.' I want to be league MVP now and not later."

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_