The Philadelphia 76ers, amazingly, will have not one but two No. 1 overall draft picks making their NBA debuts on Wednesday night when the Wizards host the Sixers in their regular season opener at Capital One Arena.
Markelle Fultz is getting much of the hype and understandably. He was the most recent top pick, is from the D.C. area and the Sixers had to trade up to get him. But Ben Simmons is also ready to debut and the Wizards aren't about to overlook him.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks has already watched some of the limited film available on the 2016 top pick and he likes what he sees.
"He's a problem. He can do a lot of good things on the court. He has great size and strength. His athleticism is off the charts," Brooks said. "He has size, he has length, he has jumping ability. He's going to be a heck of a player for a long time."
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Simmons, 21, is 6-foot-10 but has the mobility of a guard. At the NBA Draft Combine in 2016, he recorded a 41 1/2-inch. max vertical leap, equal to Zach LaVine and higher than Aaron Gordon. His agility test time was better than Stephen Curry and Chris Paul.
Athletes like Simmons don't come around often. He's a difficult player to match up with, regardless of his inexperience and reputation as a poor shooter. Size and speed are two things that can't be taught.
Whom the Wizards throw at him will be interesting. Perhaps Kelly Oubre, Jr. or Otto Porter will get the nod. Brooks, though, insists it won't be up to one player.
"We have the versatility on defense where we can match up with different players. That can help us guard players like that. But you're talking about a guy who can put the ball on the floor and get to spaces and spots that normally a 6-10 guy doesn't. Your team defense has to be locked in," Brooks said.
Simmons missed all of last season with a foot injury, but was impressive this preseason. A player who can pass like this at 6-foot-10 is a serious anomaly:
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