Ah, the ever-controversial starting point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers. Love him or hate him, Ben Simmons is now a 2x NBA All-Star. This marks just the fourth time in Sixers history where the team will send multiple players to the All-Star game.
Simmons has been the victim of a majority of Sixers-related criticisms in 2020. National and local reporters, Philly fans and non-Philly fans, they all seem to have an opinion on the 23-year-old Aussie guard.
Regardless of what shows like First Take may say, the case for Simmons being named an All-Star was pretty much a no-brainer. He’s averaging 16.9 points, 8.3 assists, 7.9 rebounds, and a league-leading 2.2 steals per game.
Simmons is doing all of this while also shooting an absurd 58.4% from the field, good for ninth-best in the NBA. This ranks as the best shooting percentage of any guard currently by a huge margin.
The next closest player would be Norman Powell shooting 49.8%.
And then on top of all of THAT, Simmons has begun to establish himself as one of the premier on-ball defenders in the league. He’s repeatedly locked up some of the NBA’s best scorers (Tatum, Kawhi, etc) while also proving disruptive in the passing lanes. Similar to the steals per game, Simmons ranks towards the top of the NBA in “deflections” per game with 4.1 (2nd).
Despite the groan that Simmons may instill due to his lack of jump-shooting, Simmons is one of the most widely respected players in the league currently. Coaches and players alike have gone out of their way to praise his abilities, both offensively and defensively.
Simmons is a unique player, there’s no debating that. His refusal to shoot is frustrating at times, but his elite ability at doing literally everything else is why he’s back in the All-Star Game this weekend. Expect this trend of Simmons participating in All-Star weekend to continue for quite some time.
Oh, and don’t look now, but Simmons is currently shooting 73.9% from the free-throw line over his last 11 games.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports