Blogtable: What impresses you most about Ben Simmons' start to season?
Each week, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
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Last season’s rookie-of-the-year favorite turned this season’s Kia Rookie-of-the-Year favorite is getting rave reviews after one week on the court. What impresses you most about the Sixers’ Ben Simmons?
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David Aldridge: He plays at his own speed. He’s never rushed. And because of that, he can get to his skill set in the flow of an offense, rather than rushing to it. He’s got amazing quickness in traffic; that first step seems to get him into the paint in an instant. Now, eventually, teams will pack it in and make him consistently make jumpers, and that’s where he’ll have to show he’s capable. But what a beginning. May God give us four or five years of uninterrupted Simmons-Joel Embiid goodness.
Steve Aschburner: What I find most intriguing about Simmons is, he’s a legitimate 6-foot-10 and he’s playing a true point guard, not just a point-forward variation. We’ve been waiting a long, long time for Magic Johnson’s baton to be handed off in full — remember how we allegedly were going to get a parade of 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-9 playmakers? — yet we essentially had to settle for Jalen Rose and, er, crickets. It obviously is taking time for Simmons’ individual game to translate into team success but he’s off to a terrific, Rookie of the Year-type start.
Shaun Powell: Yes, he brings the necessary goods to rack up the stats and help in multiple ways. Yet, Simmons most impressively is a cool customer. I’ve never seen him rattled or bothered by the moment (so far). He’s comfortable with the ball everywhere except beyond the arc and perhaps in time he’ll be OK there as well. The next test will come when he has a bad stretch or hits the rookie wall; how will he respond? You find out a lot about a person during tough times. Anyway, the long wait caused by a lost rookie season has made him anxious and eager to prove he belongs. Well, he does.
John Schuhmann: Being a 6-foot-10 point guard is certainly unique. But it goes beyond that, because he has a great feel for the game. Along with his great vision, he plays in control and at the right speed, which is special for a rookie. And from what I’ve seen, he’s not a liability on defense, which is really special for a rookie.
Sekou Smith: The triple-double this early into his playing career is impressive enough, but it’s the ease Simmons is operating with right now that’s perhaps most impressive. He is clearly temperamentally fit for the role he’s being asked to play in “The Process.” Sure, he had a redshirt year. And doesn’t every rookie wish he had a paid first-year internship to get ready for life in the NBA? Simmons, however, seems to have used his observation season to figure out exactly how his skill set could best serve the young Sixers’ journey from the lottery to their goal of becoming a playoff player in the Eastern Conference. They still have a ways to go. But with Simmons and Joel Embiid, two physical specimens at their respective positions locked in as your cornerstones, the future in Philly is indeed bright.