Philadelphia 76ers: The rise of Ben Simmons

There is something brewing in the city of brotherly love, we take a look at former number one pick Ben Simmons and his lightning start to the season.

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The Philadelphia 76ers are finally rolling with the ball club sitting at 8-6, sixth best in the Eastern conference. This is largely in part to their future All-Star players in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons who have been flat-track balling to begin the start of the new season. 

Simmons has been mightily impressive considering the number one pick of last years draft was redshirted last season and hasn’t looked out of place as the primary ball handler. We take a look at what Ben Simmons has done so far in the opening 14 games, his chances of Rookie of the Year and whether he can lead Philadelphia to the play-offs.

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Statistical overview

Simmons’ stat line is excellent for a 6’10 player running the offense. After 14 games the LSU product averages 17.8 points at 50.5%, 9.2 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.9 and 0.8 blocks. Those are outstanding numbers for any rookie let alone a seasoned veteran.

The Australian already has four double-doubles this season and a triple-double which came against the Indiana Pacers. On multiple occasions, Simmons have flirted with a triple-double and it won’t come as a surprise if and when the next one comes.

Philadelphia are most definitely a better ball club when they have Ben Simmons on the floor and running the offense. When the Australian is on the court the Sixers out score their opponents by 3.4 points per 100 possessions and without him the net rating plummets to -9.6.

There is one issue that stands out for Simmons and that is his jumper. He is yet to hit a three-pointer this season and between 10 to 16 feet, he only shoots 29.8%. That will become a point of emphasis for Simmons going forward as he continues to develop his game.

Rookie of the Year?

It’s almost unfair to compare Ben Simmons to this year’s draft class as the Australian is on a whole other planet. Compared to the class of 2017, Simmons ranks first in points, rebounds and assists with the New York Knicks’ Frank Ntilikina topping the charts in steals. The Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac and Atlanta’s John Collins lead the rookie class in blocked shots. 

The story for rookies in Philadelphia in recent years has been their inability to stay healthy with Joel Embiid missing a ton of games, which was also the case for Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. If Ben Simmons can stay healthy, it’s undeniable that he will not only win Rookie of the Year but could also poll some MVP votes later in the season.

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Playoff hopefuls

Players from the Philadelphia 76ers have been talking up the prospects of making the play-offs this season and the way the team is trending, there is no reason why we can’t see this team make a run in the East. The Eastern Conference is nowhere near as strong as the West and it would seem that Brett Brown’s ball club has a simple road to get to the play-offs.

They have done a great job bringing in experienced players such as JJ Redick from the Los Angeles Clippers and Amir Johnson from Boston to help build a winning culture in Philadelphia. Early in the season, it’s evident that the seasoned veterans and the exciting young talent is gelling well. It will be interesting to see if the Sixers can continue this good start to the season.

Will Ben Simmons win Rookie of the Year? Can he help lead Philadelphia back to the play-offs? Let us know in the comments section below.

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