Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons put together an impressive rookie campaign. What’s to say he can’t etch out one of the best seasons in NBA history?
Only two players in the 72-year history of the NBA have ever averaged a triple-double. Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, who miraculously pulled it off in his second NBA season at 23 years old, playing for the Cincinnati Royals. His numbers? 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, 11.5 assists. The other, Russell Westbrook, who has done it twice — once last season, and notoriously in his 2016-17 MVP season.
Ben Simmons won the Rookie of the Year award last season and captured plenty of attention in his freshman campaign. His end of the season averages finished at 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds. The only other players to average such numbers last season were Russell Westbrook and LeBron James.
Now, why can’t Ben Simmons average a triple-double next season? His usage rate was among the highest in the NBA, and he clearly possesses the skill to do so.
Ben Simmons’ playmaking
At Simmons’ stature, grabbing 10 or more rebounds per game should not be too difficult. He fell just under two rebounds short last season, and can definitely go after 10+ a game if he really wants too. The 10.0 or more assists, however, can be tough for any point guard in the league. Simmons did finish fourth in the NBA in assists per game and third in total assists last season.
What’s magical about Simmons is his awareness. Simmons seems to know where everyone on the court is at any given moment. His ball handling is pretty impressive, exceptional for a guy his size. Simmons is able to go behind-the-back or no-look and deliver passes on the money with ease.
With the same starting five returning and the addition of a potential star like Markelle Fultz, Simmons is plenty capable to dish out 10 or more dimes per game on average. If anything it shouldn’t be any harder. Going into his sophomore season, Simmons should be more comfortable in the NBA and with his teammates.
His rookie campaign proved to be one of the best stats wise, becoming only the second rookie to ever post at least 1200 points, 600 assists, and 600 rebounds in their rookie year. Simmons had the eighth best assist percentage in the NBA last season among starters who played at least half the season.
Simmons is certainly unselfish. He has shown to be willing to make the extra pass or find the open man whenever necessary. I’m pretty sure Simmons would rather have 15 assists than 15 points.
Ben Simmons’ driving ability
To simply put it, Simmons attacks the rim very well. He is able to drive and score off both hands with perfect touch on demand. Clearly scoring 10 or more points should come easy enough. He scored at least 20 points in 20 games last season.
What would clearly lead to more points for Simmons would be the addition of a jump shot, which he has been working on. His free throws should improve as well. Personally, I can’t wait to see Simmons score at will on any opponent. Defenders can barely stop his driving, when last season, it was his only real strength scoring wise.
Where his driving ability also comes into play is the playmaking. Simmons is able to drive and dish out to Redick or Saric for a three, or even hit Embiid on the block for a lay-up. Defenders crash on Simmons when in the lane, and he has the awareness to know where the open man is.
He leads an incredible fast break as well. In the open court, Simmons is practically unstoppable. Whether its one-on-one and he takes it himself, or a teammate trailing him, Simmons will make the right decision each time.
Why not Simmons?
Ben Simmons opened eyes in his rookie year. He has been called a young LeBron, who himself never averaged a triple-double in a season, and proved why he was worth the number one back in the 2016 NBA Draft.
The 76ers are poised for another successful season. Why can’t Simmons go out there and average a triple-double? His points will most certainly be there, and at his height, he could grab double-digit rebounds. Without a doubt, Simmons has playmaking and passing skills like no one else in the NBA, particularly due to his size at the position.
With the sense to find the open man, I believe Simmons can post a triple-double on average next year. It will definitely be fun to watch him next year, and the entire Philadelphia 76ers team. We’ll have to wait and see until April 20th, 2019 – the day after the 76ers’ last game of the 2018-19 NBA regular season.
Also, if you forgot how great he is, here’s some of his best assists from last year.