In just a season of play, reigning Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons has proven to fit the bill of being an otherworldly elite talent in the league.
Gifted with size, speed, and skill, the Sixers star can easily score, facilitate, rebound, and defend in almost any situation. Without a doubt, with him and Joel Embiid at the helm, the Sixers future will be brighter than ever.
Despite his lackluster rookie season, Markelle Fultz was supposedly part of The Process that would see a mighty three-headed monster brew alongside the Embiid and Simmons duo. Controversy and reports regarding Fultz’s shoulder injury, shooting form, and his yips, the Sixers eventually shut down their talented rookie for most of the season delaying the presumed basketball trinity.
The idea of immediately of bringing Fultz into the fray might have been half-baked, but with a new season at hand and a lot of time to pick up the pieces, Fultz may be in for a bounce-back sophomore year. When it eventually happens, his emergence from an afterthought to a bonafide stud might not actually be the best thing for Ben Simmons.
Simmons at 6’10 has amazing physical gifts and handles that could slot him at any of the five positions. Although capable of doing all positions, he is most comfortable running the offense as a point guard like a young LeBron James.
With more similarities to a young James, Simmons has a glaring weakness to his game, which is shooting and his free throws. Even if he shot 54 percent on his field goal attempts, he didn’t knock down any of his 11 attempts three-point attempts last season. To be fair, most were last minute heaves than spot-ups, but the ghastly 56 percent on his free throws are hard to justify.
Simmons didn’t really have a need to shoot due to being two or three strides to the rim. Too big for guards and too fast for big men, he is a nightmare mismatch on the post. If you manage to somehow contain him, he gets others involved as a gifted passer with remarkable court vision.
His current talent and gifts can only go so long in the current space and pace modern game of the NBA. Not to knock on his abilities, but without a decent jumper to go with his talent, he can only do so much on the court. Although if you thought it was hard enough to stop him without an outside shot, it would be nearly impossible with a serviceable one.
In relation, Fultz is deserving of his billing as 1st overall pick last draft. For 25 games of college basketball with Washington he averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists while shooting 41 percent from the three-point line. A sample size of what he can do that doesn’t exactly translate to NBA success, the league was kind of expecting him to make an impact right away.
His rookie season was less to be desired, but when he finally gets things together, especially the lost jump shot, his skills may be better suited to the NBA’s modern game. With the ability to attack the rim, knock the deep ball, and facilitate the rock, Fultz will be a better choice in most offensive lineups for the Sixers.
Instead of functioning as the primary ball handler, Simmons may defer to Fultz often times being the one with an outside shot. Defenses will be forced to cover the three-point line out of respect to his shot, unlike Simmons whom you would likely clog the lanes for.
Nonetheless, these two are top talents that can co-exist. Markelle Fultz gives them that well-needed scoring point guard, while Simmons can still be the dominant point forward that he is. Sixer head coach Brett Brown is a master of developing talent and teamwork in these situations. There is no doubt that these two playing together will be for the better rather than the worse.
When healthy, the young triumvirate of talent in Embiid, Simmons, and Fultz as the foundations of the Sixers future looks as solid as they come. Though until something significant comes to fruition from their prior moves, The Process still continues in Philadelphia.