Ben Simmons is not the loudest player on the court. He isn’t in the locker room either.
Simmons lets his play do the talking. But as his rookie season progresses, his vocal leadership is growing just like his production.
“He’s just using it (his voice) more,” Brett Brown said. “He isn’t a man of many words. And it’s fine, everybody leads in different ways. But when he’s got something to say, he says it and people hear that.”
On one hand, Simmons is only 21 years old. He has played only 75 games his entire NBA career and is the lone rookie in the starting lineup.
On the other hand, none of that has mattered in a dominating first season.
“He’s able to lead through example a lot, which certainly helps the package,” Brown said.
Simmons has been storming through the box scores and has become a nightly triple-double threat. His 11 triple-doubles are third-most in the NBA behind only Russell Westbrook and LeBron James, while his 35 double-doubles rank 13th. He's passed Magic Johnson for second-most triple-doubles by a rookie.
“It’s getting a lot easier,” Simmons said. “Just reading the plays, knowing how guys want to play with me, how they cut, where they want to get their shots from, it’s just easier for me to pass the ball and get them open shots.”
Simmons has stepped up in the absence of Joel Embiid, who is sidelined by an orbital fracture and concussion. He has combined for 33 points, 20 rebounds, 26 assists, four blocks, four steals and just three turnovers in the last two games without Embiid as the Sixers push for home-court advantage.
“At the start of the season I was just trying to find my place,” Simmons said. “Knowing that I’m the point guard of the team and having the ball in my hands a lot of the time, I need to be a lot more vocal and be one of the leaders on the floor.”
It’s no coincidence Simmons is averaging a triple-double during the Sixers’ current 10-game winning streak: 13.2 points, 10.1 rebounds and 11.8 assists. While the Sixers face uncertainties because of injuries, they know exactly what they have in Simmons.
“All over the place, his presence, his disposition, and lately, even more, his voice I think reeks of leadership,” Brown said. “Real positive trends."