A triple-double in one of your first four games in the NBA, as only the third player ever? No problem for Ben Simmons. He has only just made his debut in the NBA, but he already might be the next great thing in basketball. Though he has played great so far, Simmons already made clear that he thought he would perform better. While he might not be satisfied yet with his own performance, the public is already convinced that he will be a great duo with the 76ers other rising star, Joel Embiid.
Simmons is definitely not a run of the mill player, as is officially listed at 2.08m, but will take over most of the point guard duties for the Sixers. He will mostly defend power forwards, as that brings him closer to the basket, allowing him to help his team with grabbing rebounds. Even more surprising is the fact that he also has point guard vision, enabling him to give great passes to his teammates allowing them an open look to the basket. Simmons’ breakthrough might be the beginning of a new playing style in the NBA, where all players can play on multiple positions.
For many people, his great performance so far might not come as a surprise, as Simmons has been on everyone’s radar for years. This made it even more surprising when Simmons chose to go to a small university, LSU (Louisiana State University) after high school, as he also had offers from big basketball universities such as Duke. For LSU, Simmons was the best signing since Shaquille O’Neal in 1989-1992.
In the end, Simmons was only enrolled in one year of college at LSU, before making himself eligible for the 2016 draft of the NBA. The words ‘was enrolled’ were used, because he had admitted that he skipped a lot of his classes. This shows the absurdity of the NBA draft eligibility system, as high school players only become eligible for the NBA one year after their graduation, and they have to turn 19 in that year. This means that even players who have no interest in studying are forced to fill up an entire year with attending college because that is the safest option. This was the case with Ben Simmons as well. Therefore, he used the one-and-done rule, to fill up that year till his eligibility for the NBA. Technically, the players are not forced to attend college, as they can play abroad as well, but that is a much riskier route for a player to take.
After Simmons’ one mandatory year was done, though he did not play at a high performing college team, he was selected first in the 2016 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. This case rekindled the discussion about the so called one-and-done rule, as it seems more beneficiary for the NBA teams, as a high school player is an unpredictable factor, than beneficiary for the players themselves.
Unfortunately, Simmons had to miss the entire 2016/2017 season due to a serious fracture in his foot. But this season, he is definitely ready to compete with the Sixers. And time will tell if will become the NBA’s new Star.