Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons has been lighting up the NBA Summer League—not with buckets, but with passes.
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This shouldn’t be a big surprise to the 76ers, because Simmons showed elite passing skills during his time at Louisiana State University, where he averaged 4.8 assists per game. According to DraftExpress, Simmons is one of five players 6-foot-9 or taller who is averaging more than five assists (5.3) per 40 minutes, and he’s the only one to do it as a freshman.
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It’s not every day that fans or the league see a 6-foot-10 rookie forward pass with such flash. Whether it’s a no-look bounce pass, a dish out of his shot or behind the back, Simmons can do it all. His skill set allows him to see the court better and helps his teammates get open looks.
In the Sixers’ first Summer League game against the Boston Celtics, the 19-year old made a spectacular no-look long bounce pass between two defenders right to a teammate. Not many point guards can do that in the league today.
In the Sixers’ most recent game against the Utah Jazz, Simmons put on a passing clinic. He had 6 assists, and some of them will leave you wondering how he did it. Here’s another no-look bounce pass.
You can see here, Simmons drives the baseline and dishes to his cutting teammate.
This might be the best one yet. Here Simmons drives the lane, fakes a behind-the-back pass, fakes the layup and finally passes it behind his back. The pass was a little off, but it was still very impressive.
Simmons is leading the Utah Summer League with 5.5 assists, which makes it easier to understand why 76ers head coach Brett Brown might try him at point guard some time this season. “There are times I think that he can be a point guard. Not Draymond Green. Not LeBron. Not Lamar Odom. That’s a point forward. I walk both lines at different moments. To start him off, we’ll play him as a point forward,” Brown told NBA.com.
Regardless of his position, Simmons might actually make the Sixers fun to watch this year.