NEW YORK — Ben Simmons was on the verge of becoming an All-Star NBA point guard in only his first season. But is that position set in stone for the rest of his career? Not necessarily, according to Brett Brown.
"I think to anoint him 'you're only a point guard forever' is not in my mind," Brown said before the Sixers' 118-110 win over the Knicks. "I think it's going to be a one (point guard) or a four (power forward), that's where I see him."
Simmons doesn't have his sights sets on an or in this situation.
"Definitely a one, not four," Simmons said. "I don't want to play a four. I mean, I'll play the four but I don't want to be predominantly in the four position because I feel like I can do a lot more from the point guard position, as you've seen."
The 6-10 Simmons has been powering through the one spot and setting milestones along the way. He passed Magic Johnson for second-most triple-doubles by an NBA rookie (eight) with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists Thursday against the Knicks. Simmons now ranks second among rookies behind only Oscar Robertson, who holds the record at 26.
He also joined Oscar and Magic as the only three players to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in a rookie season. Simmons is averaging 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals in 34.5 minutes.
Despite those stats and Simmons' pass-first mentality, Brown still sees an opportunity at power forward.
"There could be advantages with other four men, slower four men, trying to guard him," Brown said. "Right now, I try to post him a lot. I think that's offensively, if the game is slowed down, where he can have the most impact. But I think four-one, one-four is sort of where my mind is at, tilting more to a one."
All of this is not to say Simmons is replacing Dario Saric in the starting lineup at power forward tomorrow. It still remains to be seen how the Sixers pair Simmons and sidelined rookie Markelle Fultz, who can play point and shooting guard. The design of rotations could also change because of additions in free agency.
"We'll look at that as our team's future unfolds," Brown said.
In the meantime, Simmons knows where he wants to be on the court.
"If he tries to (move me to power forward), I'll let him know," Simmons said with a smile. "We have such a great relationship where I can talk to him. I wouldn't be opposed to trying it, but if it just didn't feel right then obviously I'd let him know."