Ben Simmons is off to a torrid start in the NBA, showing the preternatural court vision and athleticism that made him the No.1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Between Joel Embiid and Simmons, it’s clear the Philadelphia 76ers have an incredibly bright future ahead of them as long as everyone stays healthy. Given how he has played so far, it’s fair to wonder, how good can Simmons really be?
At 6’10”, Simmons passes like a point guard but has all the length and power of a big man, giving him a unique skill set we rarely see. The most obvious comparison for Simmons’ skill set is LeBron James, who has this to say about Simmons: “You have an opportunity to be better than me. But you can’t skip steps. You have to do the work.” Any time a future Hall of Famer, especially one as good as James, has that to say about a player, it’s no small thing.
Can Simmons really be as good as James? Well, that depends. If the young star every hopes to become a player of James’ caliber, he needs to fix the only really glaring hole in his game: his jump-shot. Dating back to his days at LSU, Simmons has struggled to find consistency with his jumper, and with the league relying more and more on 3 point shooting, Simmons will need to improve that shot if he is to ever reach his full potential. James, who like Simmons, lacked a consistent jumper early in his career, worked hard to add that element to his game, and that’s part of the reason we look at the king as one of the best to ever play the game.
Basically, Simmons has all the potential in the world. His skill set is absolutely tremendous, and it’s clear that as long as he is healthy he will be able to produce at the NBA level.That said, if the youngster really hopes to deliver on his promise, he needs to add a consistent jumper to his game. Can he be as good as James? Maybe, but for now, let’s just let Simmons be Simmons before comparing him to an all-timer.