NBA analyst Chris Broussard brought forward the comparison to one of the all-time great passers in the league, Magic Johnson, offering that the one player that sports any resemblance to the Los Angeles Lakers legend is rookie Ben Simmons.
“Ben Simmons is the closest thing we’ve ever seen to Magic, more than Penny Hardaway, even,” said Broussard.
His counterpart Skip Bayless argued “he plays in the paint, he’s not a shooter at all,” to which Broussard countered:
“Magic wasn’t a shooter, he had that little set shot, but Magic could score — and that’s what Ben can do. I wish Ben could shoot more, Magic didn’t shoot a lot.”
"@BenSimmons25 is the closest thing we've ever seen to @MagicJohnson — more than Penny Hardaway (@Iam1Cent) even." — @Chris_Broussard pic.twitter.com/9WXmtGJqg8
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) April 2, 2018
Simmons has had a tear of a rookie season after sitting out the entire 2016-17 campaign with a foot injury, posting averages of 15.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game, along with 1.7 steals and 0.9 blocks through 75 games this season.
Those numbers bare a scary resemblance to Johnson’s 18 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game, along with 2.4 steals in his rookie campaign of 1979-80.
Whether it is their similar size, as Simmons is only an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than Magic — both players show the dynamic to be able to do it all on the court, as Simmons has shot a blistering 54 percent from the floor, besting Johnson’s 53 percent mark as a rookie.
While Lonzo Ball was touted as the next one coming to the neo-Showtime era, he’s had an underwhelming rookie season, shooting 36 percent from the floor, 30.5 percent from deep, and a porous 45 percent from the foul line.
The Next Magic is not Lonzo; it’s Ben Simmons! https://t.co/PYimoa7vh3
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) April 2, 2018
While Simmons is yet to develop a consistent shot, as Johnson did later in his career, he seems to be in a much better standing to do so, while still remaining a strong presence inside and a good finisher, making it that much more apparent to become the heir of this generation as one of the most gifted all-around big men in the game.