Draft Profile: Ben Simmons

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NBA Draft Combine Measurements


Why You Might Know Him

The hype surrounding Ben Simmons was unrivaled by any other collegiate player during the 2015-16 NCAA basketball season. The 6-foot-10, Australian-born forward entered the college scene as the nation’s most highly touted freshman, and he fully lived up to the expectations from a statistical standpoint. Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game during his only season at Louisiana State University and was named consensus National Freshman of the Year. The 19-year-old became the first player to average at least 19 points, 11 rebounds and four assists during a season since Ron Harper – the godfather of Celtics guard R.J. Hunter – who did so 30 years ago at Miami.

Scouting Report

Possessions Scouted from 2015-16 Season:
OFFENSE: 22.7 percent of possessions
DEFENSE: 23.5 percent of possessions

The best way for me to describe Ben Simmons is a superior, unique talent. He is unique in the sense that he is a high-level player in most areas of the game, but he also has some major flaws (shooting, commitment, passion). Simmons is the top big man prospect I’ve ever scouted when it comes to passing and vision. He is the definition of point-forward. Simmons has supreme passing and dribbling ability with both hands, oftentimes showing laser-like accuracy with everything from cross-court chest passes to one-handed scoops. At 6-foot-10 with a great frame, great athleticism, and elite speed for his size, he will likely be able to play both forward positions (predominantly PF), yet he’ll be utilized best by having an offense run through him, much like Golden State does with Draymond Green at times. He sees the floor very well from the perimeter but loves to operate out of the post, where he sometimes showcases a lack of “pocket awareness.” Outside of his elite vision, passing and elusiveness, his offensive game is underwhelming. He cannot – and will not – shoot from the perimeter (I think his jumper can improve immediately by consistently squaring his feet and jumping vertically). He’s not a great finisher in traffic but regularly slashes for quality looks in the paint. He’s left-handed but shoots almost exclusively with his right hand from within 10 feet of the hoop. He will learn how to finish. If he can learn how to shoot, which is an enormous ‘if,’ he will become a star – and likely a superstar. He shows little to no effort on defense, particularly with close-outs and contests. He seems uninterested at that end, even at the start of games when his tank is full, and oftentimes pays no attention to the scouting report. However, there is potential. He has great instincts (doesn’t bite on ball-fakes, accurate ball swipes) and the motor is in him – he made some high-level hustle plays on both defense and the glass. He just needs that motor to run consistently. He’s an exceptional rebounder and really does give effort in that department. He has a quick second leap, which oftentimes leads to tip-ins. Simmons has all of the tools, save for two major questions: Will he ever become a legitimate shooting threat that teams must respect from 15 feet and out, and will he ever give consistent effort at both ends? The latter is probable. The former? I’m not so sure.


Benjamin Simmons was born on July 20, 1996 in Melbourne, Australia to David and Julie Simmons. His father, a New York City native, played 13 professional seasons in the Australian National Basketball League, where he earned All-League honors and had his No. 25 retired by the Melbourne Tigers. Simmons, who is one of six children, was a basketball phenom in Australia during his early teen years. In 2011, at the age of 15, he represented Australia at the FIBA Under-17 World Championship and guided the team to a silver medal finish. Two years later, Simmons moved to Montverde, Fla. to attend Montverde Academy for three years. He suited up alongside 2015 No. 2 overall draft pick D’Angelo Russell during his first two seasons, and the pair guided the Eagles to consecutive national titles. During his senior season in 2015, Simmons averaged 28.0 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, earning Naismith National Boys Player of the Year and Gatorade National Male Basketball Player of the Year honors. The LSU commit led the Eagles to their third straight national championship with a 20-point, 11-rebound, six-assist effort against No. 1 Oak Hill Academy in the title game. Simmons left Montverde as the top-rated recruit in the country on the 2015 ESPN 100. During his only season at LSU, he averaged 19.2 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game and 4.8 assists per game, earning consensus National Freshman of the Year honors. LSU went 19-14 and did not make the postseason, but Simmons had some dazzling performances along the way. He notched 21 points, 20 rebounds seven assists and two steals during a loss to Marquette on Nov. 23. Nine days later he tallied 43 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and three blocks during a win over North Florida. Simmons finished the season ranked first in the Southeastern Conference in rebounds, second in steals (2.0 per game) and fourth in points.