It was a momentous day for the NBA. After Kevin Durant decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors, No. 1 pick Ben Simmons made his debut at Summer League with the Philadelphia 76ers.
And though it was only one Summer League game, Simmons didn’t fail to impress.
In 23 minutes, Simmons scored 10 points (on 2-of-9 shooting) with eight rebounds, and five assists, showing off the all-around game that had the NBA pegging him as the top pick in the draft in November.
Though Simmons eventually left the game with severe cramps in his legs, he showed enough of his all-around promise to wow spectators.
Simmons is a positional alien — at 6-foot-10, he can handle and pass the ball like a point guard, has the fluidity of a wing, and rebounds and scores down low like a big man. And though his jumper needs a lot of work and it’s unknown if he can run an NBA offence, Monday night he showed off some skills that had the NBA world drooling.
Like this nifty, look-away bounce pass on a fast break:
Or another nifty touch pass for a wide open dunk:
Simmons also completed a Magic Johnson-esque, behind-the-head pass that nearly led to a basket:
Simmons’ passing was the standout part of his game, but that is perhaps the most encouraging part. He struggled to score, but his shot will come around as he gets comfortable. His ability to see passing lanes, however, is already elite.
76ers Summer League coach Billy Lange said of Simmons after the game, “Passing, ball-handling, confidence, communication, swagger, enthusiasm, love for teammates. … He’s a basketball player. He’s a really good basketball player. … Anyone that’s watched enough basketball sees a skill-set there that’s really exciting.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the NBA world was just watching, jaws on the floor.
Sure, it’s only Summer League, but Ben Simmons already looks unbelievably comfortable out there. His vision and feel really is incredible
— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) July 4, 2016
I feel confident after about 13 minutes of Utah Summer League that Ben Simmons is a talented basketballer
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) July 4, 2016
Sixers point guard T.J. McConnell said Simmons will have a bright future in the NBA.
“He’s literally the nicest kid I ever met. He’s going to fit in here. He works hard. For being the No. 1 pick, he’s the most humble kid I’ve seen.”
One Summer League doesn’t guarantee anything for Simmons, but the flashes he showed suggest that he could be on his way to becoming a must-watch player in his rookie season.
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