2016 NBA Draft: Ben Simmons scouting report
Ben Simmons 2016 NBA Draft scouting report
Ben Simmons scouting report
By Kevin O'Connor
Ben Simmons is one of the most polarizing prospects to enter the NBA Draft in recent history. Averaging 19.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, the LSU freshman has the size of a forward with the speed and skills of a guard. But his weaknesses may hold him back from becoming an elite player.
Simmons is a tremendous playmaker with his ability to make Rondo-like passes off the dribble. It’s his size (6-foot-10) that sets him apart though. He can see over the defense and complete passes that smaller point guards can only dream of making. It’ll also be difficult for bigs to defend him. There just aren’t many players that tall, quick, and skilled – and when they are, they’re usually All-Star level talents.
Simmons isn’t a springy leaper that’ll dunk over entire defenses like LeBron James does, but he will be one of the fastest players in the open floor. He can rip down rebounds and take it coast-to-coast in the blink of an eye. In the half court, he’s similarly proficient at getting to the basket and drawing fouls.
In theory, Simmons could develop into one of the most versatile players in the NBA if he improves on his weaknesses – since he’s so unique as a playmaking forward.
Simmons needs to improve significantly as a shooter. If he does, it’ll enable him to shine on the offensive end of the floor. He has sloppy mechanics, and it’s possible he’s shooting with the wrong hand. But he was often reluctant to even shoot outside the paint as a freshman at LSU, so he might also have “the yips.”
His mentality hurts him other ways too. He had negative body language when the going got tough in college, and NBA personnel question whether or not he can deal with an exhausting losing season. Even on the floor, it seems like he’s stat-padded by dribbling the ball all the way up the floor instead of outleting it ahead to an open player.
Simmons’ defense should be better than it is, since he has the quickness to jump passing lanes for steals and slide in front of different types of players. But he plays with a relatively passive mentality and expounds low effort on defense. Unless he’s surrounded by a culture that emphasizes a “defense first” mentality, he may never reach his potential.
Brad Stevens has a way of maximizing a player’s strengths while minimizing their weaknesses, which would make Simmons an intriguing fit on the Celtics. Early in his career he could operate like a taller version of Evan Turner, though Simmons clearly has significantly higher potential.
However, Simmons’ inability to play off-ball and his tendency to pound the air out of the ball could present the same issues the Celtics had with Rondo. Boston’s best lineups have multiple ball handlers on the floor, but as of now Simmons would be a non-threat if he were spotting up in a corner.
The Boston Celtics are highly unlikely to be in a position to draft Simmons unless they trade up or Simmons falls to No. 3.
If the Sixers end up selecting Brandon Ingram with the No. 1 pick, you could make the argument that International forward Dragan Bender is a better fit for the Lakers at No. 2. As for a trade, the Celtics would have to unload a chunk of their assets to move up at all.
In all likelihood, neither of these things happen, but we’ve seen crazier things happen in the history of the NBA Draft.
Kevin O’Connor can be followed on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.