The highlights of Ben Simmons dunking all over everyone doesn’t do his historic Wednesday night justice. He was damn near perfect in every aspect, accomplishing some things we haven’t seen in years in the process.
LSU freshman Ben Simmons last night: 43 points 15-20 FG 14 rebounds 7 assists 5 steals 3 blocks pic.twitter.com/g4heXmxsRR— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 3, 2015
Ben Simmons: only major conference player in the last 20 seasons with at least 40 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists & 5 steals in a game.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 3, 2015
Ben Simmons - 1st LSU player with 43 points in a game since Shaquille O'Neal in 1991 - Only freshman last 20 yrs w/ 40 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 3, 2015
Every time I watch Simmons play, I can’t help but think, “this is the closet thing we’ve seen to LeBron playing college basketball.” Then I temper my expectations. Ben Simmons can’t possibly be LeBron James. But when the LSU freshman does things like this, he shows LeBron-esque potential.
Just think about the facts. Simmons is 6’10”, can play all five positions, and is selfless on the court. He’s averaging 20/15/6 — along with 2.4 steals, 1.6 blocks and shooting 53.8% — just seven games into his college career. He’s 19 years old playing almost a full 40 minutes per game because his coach simply can’t afford to have him off the floor. The fact is, Simmons looks a lot like LeBron on paper.
Simmons was essentially a lock for the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft prior to Wednesday’s explosion, so he can’t really help his draft stock further. However, he can become viewed as more of a “sure thing” when it comes to NBA superstardom. It’s early December, though. In all likelihood, Simmons is going to have more performances like this one, and we’re all going to be drooling over him come June.
You could very well argue that this is the most important draft lottery since 2003 — when the Cavs landed James, of course.
If you haven’t seen Simmons play, be sure to watch him whenever you can. I’ll continue to do so, but I’m already 100% sold. This kid has elite NBA superstardom in his very near future.
Find me on Twitter @julianedlow