What should Philadelphia 76ers fans expect from the reigning Rookie of the Year next season?
Ben Simmons won the Rookie of the Year award rather handedly last season, besting Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum in a race that wasn’t as close as many made it seem. He now enters year two as one of the best point guards (and players) in the Eastern Conference.
Recency bias is always an issue when evaluating players, and it seems to be especially problematic when people talk about Simmons. He wasn’t at his best in the Philadelphia 76ers‘ second-round loss to the Boston Celtics, reaching his lowest point of the season with a one-point outing in Game 2.
The Celtics were able to contain him better than any team all season — running shooters off the line and exploiting his inability to consistently create his own shot in the halfcourt. He still had positive flashes, especially in Games 4 and 5, but people tend for forget the positives in favor of harping on the negatives.
Simply put, Simmons will have some things to prove next season. Teams are gradually figuring out how to defend him, which means the Sixers need to diversify his scoring opportunities. He also needs to work on his finishing, add range to his jumper and continue to up his aggressiveness as a scorer.
A healthy Markelle Fultz will unlock parts of Simmons’ game that we haven’t seen yet. Regardless of where Fultz stands, though, it’s reasonable to expect second-year growth from the reigning Rookie of the Year. Here are some bold, yet feasible, predictions.