2018-19 In Review | Ben Simmons

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

A Couple Thoughts...

You win Rookie of the Year. What's next?

Another season that represents a step in the right direction, that's what.

For his sophomore follow-up, Ben Simmons - third in the NBA with 10 triple-doubles - once again delivered a well-rounded, dynamic stat line.

He averaged 16.9 points per game, imposing his will on the interior, and scoring at a rate roughly 1.0 point higher per 36 minutes than he did his first season.

His production on the glass also experienced a slight uptick, with Simmons grabbing 8.8 boards per game, and increasing both his offensive and defensive rebounding percentage to 6.2 and 17.9, respectively.

Surrounded by a deeper cast of ball handlers, the All-Star still maintained top-flight facilitating numbers too. He finished sixth in the league with 7.7 assists per game, and eighth overall (among players who logged 25-plus minutes in 50-plus games) with a 34.1 assist percentage.

The way we saw it, Simmons showed personal growth on the court as well. The farther along the season went, the more comfortable he seemed at asserting himself in a leadership capacity.

But in our estimation, playoff defense was the area where the 22-year old made the greatest strides in his second season.

A solid 102.7 individual postseason defensive rating aside, Simmons was asked in the first round to go toe-to-toe with a bonafide scoring guard (Brooklyn's D'Angelo Russell), then in the second round he was put on arguably the best player in the NBA (Toronto's Kawhi Leonard).

Faced with these two challenging assignments, Simmons certainly held his own. According to stats.nba.com Matchup Data, both Russell and Leonard shot worse when guarded by the Australian.  

In the bright, pressure-packed spotlight of the playoffs, Simmons put on full display the type of defensive potential the Sixers believe could be his ticket to an eventual Defensive Player of the Year bid.

During his end-of-season exit interview press conference, Simmons acknowledged that despite his progress in Year 2, further refinement will be necessary for his ascent to continue in Year 3. Given the promising body of work he's already put together in such a short period of time at such a young age, the note was an encouraging one for him to hit heading into the summer.

A Big Number

Per Basketball - Reference, only three other players in NBA history - Magic Johnson (once), Fat Lever (twice), and Russell Westbrook (three times)  - have ever finished with the points / rebounds / assists / steals split minimums that Ben Simmons maintained during the 2018-19 regular season.

A Quote

"I just want to get better all around, become a better more efficient player, and keep growing as a better player. There's no one individual spot. I want to work on everything, and continue to let my game grow."

A Mixtape


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