As has become tradition in the city of brotherly love, the NBA world has to have extra patience when waiting for the next big prospect to make his debut in a 76ers uniform as they usually make their actual on court debut in year two (or year three), which is the case with No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft Ben Simmons.
Simmons missed his entire rookie season with a foot injury (and will miss NBA Summer League this year), but he is expected to debut this October. Because of his incredible court vision and play making ability for a player his size (6’9″) 76ers Head Coach Brett Brown is planning to play Simmons at point guard.
Hall of famer and former 76ers Head Coach (among a million other places) Larry Brown, is not only not on board with Simmons being a point guard, he thinks it is downright moronic.
Here are some excerpts of what Brown told CSN Philly when asked about Simmons and the current 76ers team:
“He’s not a point guard,” Brown said. “Everybody that’s saying that is ridiculous.
“I watched that kid at Montverde. He’s a point guard when he gets the ball in the half court. He’s a point guard if he gets the ball off the board because he’s such a willing passer and so good with the ball, but if he’s going to have to back it down and bring the ball up against little guys, it’s going to take away from what he’s capable of doing. Whoever is saying that is a moron.”
“He’s a point guard in transition,” Brown said. “He’s a point guard when he gets the ball off the board. But he’s not a point guard running ball screens. He’s not a point guard bringing the ball up. It’s not fair to him. He’s a great passer. He’s a willing passer.
“It’s never fair to compare players, but he’s a little like Magic in terms of his size and his ability to pass the ball, but I think he can play on any team and be successful. Look at the big kid in Milwaukee — the Greek Freak (Giannis Antetokounmpo) — look at Paul George to an extent, (Kevin) Durant to an extent. That’s more like Ben and the way he plays. It’s not like a true point guard bringing the ball up like Kyrie Irving or Chris Paul or somebody like that.”
While Brown eats, sleeps and poops basketball and has forgotten more about the game than 99 percent of the population will ever know, he definitely got his green curmudgeon suit on right now and is stuck in his traditional ways and views of the game. The NBA is becoming a position less game. Simmons definitely has the tools to lead an offense and be the primary ball handler and serve as a match-up nightmare for opposing teams while guarding a three through five on the defensive end. Plus, in all honesty, there will likely be another ball handler on the court with him at all times that will also bring the ball up on occasion and serve some of the duties associated with the traditional point guard.
Either way it will be fun to see what kind of player Simmons can become, hopefully he can stay healthy enough to reach his ceiling, whatever that may be.