Prior to Thursday night’s victory over the Golden State Warriors, the NBA announced their All-Star Game reserves, which includes Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons. Simmons becomes the first Australian-born basketball player named an NBA All-Star, an honor the 22-year-old accomplished in just his second season.
Ben Simmons will join Joel Embiid as one of two Philadelphia 76ers players participating in the NBA’s Feb. 17 All-Star game. This marks the first selection for Simmons, whose NBA career is in its infancy. Simmons, one of the most controversial All-Star snubs a season ago, averaged 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists before the break yet still fell short. However, NBA coaches would be at loss keeping Simmons out of this season’s All-Star game, improving his point scoring by 0.4 points, hauling in 1.7 more rebounds, and earning 0.8 more assists this season.
Thus far, Simmons is accountable for 6.0 win shares and ranks third in assists per game and total assists. In addition, Simmons is currently tied for the ninth (32) most double-doubles in the NBA and second in triple-doubles (eight). This season, the 6-foot-10 hybrid guard became the second fastest player (129 games) to post 20 triple-doubles, only behind Hall of Fame guard Oscar Robertson. More precisely, Simmons is averaging the second most rebounds among active guards (9.5), also tied for first in blocks per game (0.8) for guards and shoots 57.4 percent percent from the field, better than any guard.
For reference, Simmons is not scoring at the rate Magic Johnson did, one of his most accurate comparisons, but is statistically passing, rebounding, and defending just as effectively. Simmons, through two seasons, already completed more games than Johnson, but regardless, achieved incredible statistical feats. In fact, Simmons’ 1,141 rebound totals through his first two seasons are more than Johnson’s 916. Likewise, Simmons generated 1,076 total assists, compared to Johnson’s 880, and has an advantage in total blocks throughout the course of their first two seasons.
Simmons’ 16.8 points per game is the sixth most among guards within the Eastern conference and he has 18 more double-doubles than Trae Young, recording the second most. His estimated added value is 262.1, greater than Bradley Beal, Kemba Walker, and DeMar DeRozan, despite a usage percentage at least 3.0 percent lower than all three of theirs. The point scoring of Simmons and his plus/minus have increased every month dating back to October as well as averaging a near triple double against the Eastern Conference. Pretty good for a guy with “no jump shot”, huh?
Simmons is the 32nd player in Philadelphia 76ers franchise history to be named an All Star and the combination of both him and Embiid as All-Stars is the first time two Sixers accomplished this since 2002, Keith Pompey reports.
The 2019 All-Star Draft led by LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, takes place on Feb. 7th and will air on TNT. Tune in to TNT Friday Feb. 15 to watch Simmons compete in the Mtn. Dew Ice Rising Stars game and Feb. 17 for the NBA’s 68th All-Star Game.