Suns NBA Draft profile: Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons was the number one prospect in the draft for nearly a year, and that wasn’t a mistake. Coming into the college season, he was touted as the best prospect since LeBron James. At 6′ 10″, Simmons has great court vision and can pass the ball with pinpoint accuracy. As the main facilitator on offense, he can get the ball exactly where it needs to be for his teammates.
He can also use his ball handling to get his own shot at the rim. This ability is shown best early in the shot clock, as well as in transition. All of Ben Simmons’ talent can be shown off in the fast break. His instincts are great, and this helps him get steals and rebounds, where he can start the break by running, or by throwing an outlet pass to the other side of the court. With the ball in his hands he can pass the ball off to an open teammate for a dunk or jumpshot, or he can finish off the drive with a lay in or dunk. As the off ball player in transition, Simmons fills the lane by the textbook, which either nets him points, or at least keeps the transition defender honest.
When it comes to the defensive end of the floor, Simmons shows the instinct that makes up a great NBA defender. His athleticism helps him when jumping passing lanes, which helps his transition offense as well. His positioning and athleticism help when contesting shots, and his ability to box out on rebounds.
Simmons has the NBA ready body, the basketball IQ to play well on both sides of the floor, but that doesn’t mean he is without his flaws. If you’ve noticed, I haven’t mentioned anything about range, and that’s because Simmons just doesn’t have any. His jumpshot is shaky, and is the opposite of reliable. He has the form, but appears to release the ball as he is on his way down from the apex of his jump. This similar to Blake Griffin’s jump shot, which if that is any indication, Simmons’ accuracy can be fixed.
Compared to the measurable you want from NBA players, Simmons’ standing reach is just average at 9′ 0.5″. While that isn’t the worst, it hurts him when rebounding with bigger players. The reach also hurts when it comes to blocked shots, meaning Simmons probably won’t average many blocks throughout his career.
Now none of the negatives are that bad, so how exactly could Simmons fall to pick number four? Well, the truth is there is no way he falls that far. He is at worst case the second pick. Now if he were to fall it would be for one reason, and that is his attitude. Towards the end of his days at LSU, he seemed disinterested in playing for the team. He had checked out instead of going out swinging. College to him was some sort of stunt, and that is obvious due to him dropping out of LSU as soon as the college basketball season was over. Sure, LSU was a bad team, but if he is on a lottery team, how does that team know he won’t just quit on them?
Despite the character concers, Ben Simmons still has the biggest upside of anyone in this draft, and he should probably be the number one pick. Let’s say he drops to four, the Suns would pick him regardless of whether or not he fit on the team. The Suns would be fortunate, because he actually does. Simmons could play either forward positions, and the Suns have shooters at each position to make up the floor spacing that he would thrive in. Slotting in Mirza Teletovic as his forward partner, or even TJ Warren with his much improved jump shot, and the forward spots would not be an issue for the Suns.
If the Suns front office aren’t sure the point guard of the future is on the roster, Simmons would be the answer. As the primary ball handler, Simmons lack of shooting is marginalized, even more so when surrounded by shooters. With Tyson Chandler as his roll man, Simmons would be dangerous in the pick and roll, and keep defenses from clogging the paint with three knockdown shooters.
If you’re worried about Simmons lack of jumpshot, look at Eric Bledsoe and Warren, who until this season were not consistent with their jump shots. Assuming the shooting improvement wasn’t only because of Jeff Hornaceck, all the personnel would be available to help him improve his shot.