Philadelphia 76ers’ 21-year-old Ben Simmons has began his NBA career to critical acclaim after his third straight double-double and a near triple-double in his most recent game. The 6”10’, 240lb PG/Forward has already drawn comparisons to LeBron James, Magic Johnson and Tracy McGrady. Simmons is currently already averaging 15.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game over the first three games of his career and has already been touted a potential Rookie of the Year award winner.
His debut against the Washington Wizards where he started resulted in 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and just 1 turnover in 35-minutes of playing time before the Australian point forward’s 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists against the Celtics. In his most recent outing, Simmons finished with team-highs 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists, becoming just the second player in NBA history to record 10+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 5+ assists in his first three games, with Hall of Famer ‘Big O’ Oscar Robertson being the only other player to achieve the feat all the way back in 1960.
Head coach Brett Brown of the 76ers (who was also previously an Australian national team mentor) believes that it is just the start of a special career ahead for Simmons, highlighting his impressive bursts of speed for his size, his ability to get to the rim and take hits and overall impressive athleticism as key traits Simmons has already demonstrated. Brown also coached Simmons’ father Dave in the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) as well as the fathers of Kyrie Irving and Dante Exum while they were playing in Australia as well.
The versatile big man from Melbourne played just one season of college for LSU where he was named a consensus first-team All-American and the USBWA National Freshman of the Year. Simmons was then selected with as the #1 overall pick in the 2016 Draft by the 76ers, becoming the third Melbourne-born #1 overall pick in 11 years. A record nine Australians are on NBA teams for the 2017/18 season including veterans Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles and Aron Baynes.