Brett Brown on What Position Ben Simmons Will Play in the NBA
One question that continues to be asked about Ben Simmons is what position will he play in the NBA.
He has described himself as a point-forward, a position that combines the skill of a point guard and the size of a forward. At 6’10", Simmons certainly has the skill set to play with the ball in his hands - but can he excel playing the lead guard position in the NBA?
"He is such an unusual talent," Sixers coach Brett Brown described. “I think everybody is first going to become aware of just how good he is in open court. A six foot ten athlete weighing 245 pounds that can move up and down the basketball court and handle the basketball like a guard the way that he does is kind of jaw dropping."
The Sixers have been in search of jaw-dropping talent ever since they drafted Allen Iverson with the No. 1 overall pick back in the 1996 draft, Coach Brown thinks they finally found that talent in Simmons.
"He really has a gift," Brown explained about Simmons ability to see the floor and run an offense at his size. "There are times that you wonder down the road he may even be a point guard. He has that type of mindset, ball skills, and mentality to make me say that. To start with, we will treat him as a point power forward and try to grow him in that capacity. The fans will see someone who is very versatile, very gifted.”
While Brown sees his No. 1 overall pick playing a point-forward position to begin his rookie season, the coach does admit that he might be tempted to use him as a lead guard somewhere down the road.
"He might be able to pull that off someday," Brown said. "But I feel its almost cruel to just give him a ball and say your going to be a NBA point guard. I think the point guard position is the hardest position to play in the NBA. I am prepared to groom him, I will not drop this off on his door step. The NBA is very different from FIBA and College.”
One of the reasons he has the knack of playing the point guard position is because of his heritage. The Australian game is about making other look better, passing the ball and as coach Brown described - taking care of your mate.
“The country has been built on mate-ship," Brown said. "There is a true spirit in that country. It is a very competitive country. They are highly competitive, and take tremendous pride in taking care of their mate. From a cultural standpoint, those are two qualities you want on your team. Ben wants to be coached, he wants to be pushed, he wants to be great.”
So was landing a player like Simmons worth the three years of losing that Brown and the Sixers endured to get him?
"It sure does feel like it," Brown admitted.