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Imagine Ben Simmons developing a working jumper that allows him to hit three-pointers at even a league-average clip. But before you do, cover up your keyboard, phone or tablet with something that will protect it from the inevitably excessive amount of drool you’re about to produce.
Now, imagine he doesn’t.
Even then, Simmons is a game-warping, scheme-altering player. His combination of height and quickness makes valid physical comparisons come few and far between, allowing him to function as one of the most unorthodox point guards we’ve ever seen.
His vision is off the charts. His knack for finishing plays in traffic is far more advanced than what we should expect from a 21-year-old rookie.
Even his defense has impressed, as he consistently displays his kleptomaniacal paws and fundamental understanding of proper positioning. Oh, who’s that sitting atop the pile among 1-guards in ESPN.com’s defensive real plus/minus? If you guessed a 6’10” southpaw from Fitzroy, Australia, you’re a winner!
Simmons isn’t the orthodox pick here, and it’s a risky selection just a handful of games into what should be a lengthy career filled with innumerable accolades.
But just watch him run a few Magical transition attacks—yes, the capitalization is intentional—and impose his will in an impossibly wide variety of areas, and you’ll understand why these feelings about the rookie’s short- and long-term potential are so contagious.