Ben Simmons: “Not About Stats, it’s About Winning”
Ben Simmons and the 76ers had their first face-to-face meeting on Thursday, seemingly ending all doubt that he wants to play in Los Angels with the Lakers.
"I think it was going to be Simmons no matter what, but it definitely calmed some nerves," ESPN NBA insider Chad Ford said on the Sports Bash.
" I think the sit down and the ability to talk with everything from ownership, the general manager, the coach, I think they walked away from that process that it was much more strategy on part of the agent than it had anything to do with Philadelphia or Ben Simmon’s willingness or desire to play in Philadelphia.”
For what it's worth, the 76ers are still the only team that has been granted access to Simmons prior to the draft, but being the No.1 overall pick doesn't seem to be a goal of the 19-year old Aussie.
“My goal is just to be the best player," Simmons told ESPN's Chris Broussard over at ESPN.com. "Every time I step up in front of you I want to be the best, and right now it’s working every day, trying to just get better in every aspect.”
"He can be a massive match-up problem at the next level," Ford added. "Because of his size and athleticism, creating problems on both ends of the floor."
The Sixers need him to be the best player, after three years of historic losing, now is the time the team needs a player who can change their fortune, but Simmons won't be the type of player that jumps of that page with a lot of points, that's just not his game - or his objective.
“I think just learning the game and how to play the game the right way. In Australia, of course, we play the European style of play, so you pass a lot, it’s more team orientated. So, the objective is to win, it’s not about stats, you know, scoring, rebounds, it’s just about winning.”
Many people have compared the 6-foot-10 Simmons to LeBron James, his ball-handling ability, a player who can initiate the Sixers offense, his versatility, he can play multiple positions and fill the stat sheet.
“Well he’s a 6’8” point forward," Simmons said about the comparisons to James. "So that’s the similar type of thing I do. I bring it up, I can pass the ball so just looking at him and play the guard position, you know, I fit that role.”
Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.8 blocks for LSU last season, talk about filling the stat sheet - but Simmons knows he can still do more.
“I think just learning the game and how to play the game the right way," admitted Simmons.
"In Australia, of course, we play the European style of play, so you pass a lot, it’s more team orientated. So, the objective is to win, it’s not about stats, you know, scoring, rebounds, it’s just about winning.”
But for the past three seasons, it hasn't been about winning for the Sixers, its been about having the ability to get their hands on a transcendent talent. After drafting third for two straight seasons, the Sixers landed Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor - the jury is still out on both, but they are hopeful that getting the No. 1 pick, if it is in fact Simmons will be that transcendent star they have yearned for.
“It’s amazing, but at the same time I want to be Ben Simmons," Simmons explained when talking about the James comparisons.
"You know, I have my own game, there’s things that I do they don’t do, there’s things they do that I don’t do. Everyone’s a different player, now I’m going against these guys so it’s going to be fun."