Ben Simmons fouled again on Monday night. He’s fouled in two of his first three games as a member of the Brooklyn Nets and has a near-counting number of fouls. So far, Simmons has scored 17 points, 14 fouls, 18 rebounds and 21 assists in 3 games. This is the guy who was have offered as the “next” LeBron James – who once said Simmons could be better than him – out of LSU. Despite the early accolades of his career, Simmons is the highest-rated overall draft player of the past 20 years, the best. At least? The highest rated player ever.
Simmons’ NBA career got off to a bad start (no pun intended) when he missed his first year 2016-17 with a leg injury. He debuted the following season, won Rookie of the Year – as it was his official debut – and was named to the All-Rookie Team in ’18. Ben’s first two years on the show have been a success, and it looks like he’s on the right track to stardom.
The former LSU Tiger – let’s not forget Simmons failed to lead the team to the NCAA Tournament – hit top scorer in his second season, averaging just under 17 points per game along with 8.8 rebounds and 7 ,7 tectonics. He has declined little by little in each category since his sophomore year. Simmons sidelined last season and was transferred from Philadelphia to Brooklyn by the February trade deadline.
When a player enters any tournament with the kind of simmons hype, they can sometimes get the benefit of the doubt. LeBron James comparison with Simmons coming at a time when the NBA is beginning to look to the future. Similarly, they are looking for a new face to replace Michael Jordan, the same goes for James. In a league built on star power, you need a clear heir to the throne.
That torch should have passed to Simmons at this point, but there’s no chance of it happening now. Sure, he’s an All-Star, All-NBA and All-Defensive player, which is amazing. But can anyone honestly point out an aspect of Ben’s game that has improved dramatically since he joined the NBA? You can not.
James continues to progress each year and add different aspects to his game. The same goes for Magic Johnson, whom Simmons also compared with Soon. Sixer peaked in his sophomore year and has only continued to decline ever since. It’s not just an opinion, it’s a fact.
He’s a player with all the talent in the world, but it seems like Simmons is more than happy to be Celebrity More ball players are actually getting better on the field. Maybe it’s something in his the head. That I would buy, and really understand if that was the case. That doesn’t change the fact that in seven years you can’t name a part of Simmons’ game better now than it was when he played his first game back in ’17.
However, it’s not all Ben’s fault. Much of the fault lies with those who started comparing LeBron and Magic. That may have created an unrealistic level of expectation that Simmons would never meet. Not because he had no talent but because he never felt like he cared about being great. You can see Simmons’ talent across two towns without binoculars. He’s gifted that way, but in a way, something inside needs to take over and push you through it.
Jordan was incredibly talented fresh out of school, but no one expected him to be one of the all-time greats. By comparing Simmons to players like LeBron and Magic, that’s the pedestal he’s put on. In the opinion of many, these are two of the five greatest players the NBA has ever seen, and Simmons didn’t even break into the top 15 in his own era.
This season is still nascent, and those first three games could be an example of getting rid of some rust. Simmons hasn’t played NBA basketball in over a year, so that’s to be expected. But fouling in two of those games isn’t a pretty sight. The worst part was that he complained about it after the game.
“It was not a foul. He calls it a foul, foul. That’s what it is,” Simmons said. “Really frustrating. But all I can do now is support my team from the bench. But damn, it’s frustrating. It is not an offense. It’s ridiculous. It’s annoying because it’s a late game, it’s already the fourth half, it’s a physical match. It’s the NBA. This is not a university. It’s not a high school. Some people will be beaten, some people will bleed. That’s basketball. ”
Brooklyn’s situation is already a messand it looks like Simmons won’t make things any easier for the Nets if he continues down this path.