Ok, I know we are only a few games in the new NBA season and it may be too early to call something like this, but I’m already so far on the Ben Simmons bandwagon that I just have to get this down in writing.
Ben Simmons will be an All-Star in his rookie year.
I don’t care if I’m wrong on this, I’m more than willing to risk whatever reputation I have because I think we witnessing the start of what will be a sensational basketball career for Ben Simmons and an All-Star nod in his rookie year would certainly be a nice way to start it off.
So, in order to back up my bold claim, here are my 5 reasons why Ben Simmons will be an All-Star this season.
One of the hardest things to do as a franchise is to break a bad culture surrounding your team. If you go through an extended period of sub 500 seasons then a losing attitude seems to plague your stadium. Just look at Sacramento and New York, they have had several consecutive bad seasons and have developed into places that players just don’t want to play in.
The Philadelphia 76ers were in danger of becoming such a place. Until last season the 76ers had 3 consecutive seasons of losing more than 63 games and only won 10 games in 2015/16. But some draft luck and savvy selecting saw them pick 2 sensational talents for their franchise; Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
We all know and love Embiid, partly for his amazing sense of humor, but mainly for his incredible skill set, but Simmons has brought another level of excitement for the franchise. Philadelphia has direction and purpose again.
Who knows what will happen in the future, they may make the Playoffs, they may fall short but one thing that can be said is that it feels good to be a 76er fan again, something that can’t be said for other teams in the NBA.
4. The Ozzys
The majority of athletes in the NBA are of course American, the US is head and shoulders above everyone else when it comes to producing basketball talent. But recently other countries have started to emerge from the woodwork when it comes to NBA players.
Many a European player has made a huge impact in the NBA with names like Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker and Kristaps Porzingis becoming famous throughout the league, but most recently Ben Simmons from Australia is making some serious headlines.
The All-Star vote is partly decided by the fans who vote for the players they want to see play, and when a whole country is behind one player it can have a huge effect on his chances to be an All-Star.
Zaza Pachulia was on course to be voted into last year’s All-Star game due to his immense popularity in his home country of Georgia. Only an emergency change in NBA rules stopped Zaza from suiting up as an All-Star. Now All-Stars are chosen via a mixture of fan, player and media voting.
Ben Simmons will have the popularity from the fans, players will already be respecting him and the media already love Ben as much as I do.
3. Baller Since High School
Being under the spotlight is not new for Simmons. He was the number 1 ranked player in high school, dominating at Montverde Academy in Florida. He then proceeded to LSU where he was the best freshman in the country averaging 19.2 points and 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He was the number one pick in the 2016 NBA draft for the Philadelphia 76ers, and now that he’s finally healthy, he’s showing the world why he was worth all the hype.
All this team since he was in high school he would have been building brand ‘Ben Simmons’. His name and image have been spread throughout the world since he was 17, and now it’s time for him to cash in.
2. The Eastern Conference
This isn’t to detract from the talent and skill of Simmons, but the odds of him making the All-Star game are greatly increased by him playing in the weaker Eastern Conference. There just simply aren’t that many All-Star caliber players playing for teams in the East.
Last season many pundits had already noted that there was a very notable disparity between the conferences when it came to talent, then players Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Jimmy Butler moved conferences making it even weaker.
1. Unbelievable Skill
All points mentioned thus far have been about external factors that affect Simmons’s chance of making this year’s All-Star game, but by far his biggest selling point is how Simmons is playing.
In just his rookie year Simmons is averaging 18 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.2 assists on 51.6% from the field. In Magic Johnson’s 3rd year in the league, he was only averaging roughly 1 more assist per game.
Ben Simmons is posting nearly identical stats that the greatest point guard who ever played posted and Simmons is a year younger than when Magic was doing it. What Simmons is doing right now is just breath-taking, he’s already got 2 triple doubles to his name and there’s no doubt he’ll be posting more.
When you look at the careers of the generational talents like the MJs, the Kobes and the LeBrons of the world we always look back at when they first started out, and I think we’ll be doing the same for this young Australian.
Start savoring his games now people, we might have ourselves something special here.