The tale of both debuts: Sixers rookie Ben Simmons outshined Lonzo Ball


Ben Simmons showed out in his debut game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The 6’10, 230 lbs, point guard showed why the Sixers will be a dangerous team this season. Countless times you saw Ben drive to the basket at will with strength that defenders could not stop. The problem presented itself clearly to Memphis and it will be the problem that many teams will have. Who is going to guard Ben Simmons?

The LSU product showed he can get to the line, he was 2-8 and 0-3 from the 3 point line but he hit both free throw shots he attempted. Simmons also rebounded with ease and is very dangerous and unpredictable in transition. He dazzled fans with his passing ability, every time the ball was in his hands you anticipated something to happen. Simmons finished his debut with 6 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 block and 1 turnover in only 22 minutes. Perhaps even more impressive, Simmons had 4 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds, after playing 9:48 seconds. The Sixers lost but what the presence of Ben Simmons was definitely a win.

Lonzo Ball meanwhile showed similar brilliance with his passing ability. At 6-6, 190 lbs, the hype from his father, Lavar Ball, has been the center of his early NBA career. In the game against the T-Wolves he let his play talk, amassing 6 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals and 3 turnovers in 35 minutes.

Ball shot 2-9 from the field was 1-5 from long range and never got to the line. It seemed like Ball was trying to force a lot rather than let the game come to him. His size allows him to rebound and he operates very good in transition. The Laker fans have been waiting for a poster boy for their franchise that brings back the show time and Ball will be that guy. Simmons and Ball have the size at point guard that makes both players hard to deal with at the position. They are both born leaders and ready to come in and make an impact.

The comparison itself is not even close; it took Simmons the first half in which he had 6 points 4 rebounds and 7 assists to show signs of dominance. He wasn’t given the time or possession after the first that half Ball had all game. The Sixers rookie is instantly a match up problem. Even though ball is 6-6 with proven 3 point range, he can’t score at will like Simmons. Simmons will be a mismatch for guards because he can dominate any guard in the post. That is not the case with Ball as his size gives him an advantage but not a physical one.

The strength of Simmons allows him to be hard to slow down in transition and one-on-one at the top of the key. Ball can shoot well, but comparing him to Ben Simmons is unfair. This rookie class will be exciting to watch but Ben Simmons is a rookie on another level.


Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports