Although ranking the top 30 NBA players in today’s game is an incredibly difficult task, The Last Word on Pro Basketball staff has taken it on. Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons made the cut.
Top 30 NBA Players
Number 25 – Ben Simmons
Born in Australia, Simmons seemed destined for athletic stardom since day one. He was both a basketball and Australian Rules Football phenom as a teenager. Basketball, however, was his forte as he was only 15 when he was chosen to represent Australia in the 2012 FIBA Under-17 World Championship. Shortly after, he moved to the United States and attended Montverde Academy to surround himself with more competitiveness.
Simmons continued to excel, as he won numerous awards in high school and was even ranked as the number one overall recruit for 2015. He attended Louisiana State University (LSU), where his personal success continued, however, the Tigers failed to make the NCAA Tournament. Simmons declared for the NBA Draft, where he was chosen number one by Philadelphia, but was unable to play the 2016-17 season due to injury.
Simmons has a very interesting game to dissect. First off, he’s a 6’10” point guard. He’s the tallest at the position in the league, and even taller than many forwards and centers. Simmons is a match-up nightmare on both sides of the floor.
He’s very agile and fast as well, which is rare with his size. This gives him the ability to be the team’s primary ball-handler. Simmons has proved that he deserves a spot amongst the league’s best point guards as seen by his average of 8.2 assists per game this season. Simply put, he’s one of the best passers in the NBA.
Furthermore, his size and strength make him a terrific rebounder. He doesn’t have to be a major glass cleaner for Philadelphia, who have both Joel Embiid and Al Horford, but he’s still averaging 7.8 boards per game this season.
Lastly, Simmons is a terrific defender. Players he’s guarded, which tend to be the better opposing offensive players, have shot 41.3 percent from the field when Simmons is on them. Simmons, tied into his defense, is also a terrific hustle player who goes for seemingly every loose ball.
Simmons lacks shooting range. That is, by far, his biggest weakness. He’s an incredible player in multiple facets, but an outside shot would take his career to the next level. He can drive at will and excels at that, but when guarded by bigger, elite defenders, the ability to drive to the basket is often taken away.
The league knows Simmons struggles with his shot. It can be seen in nearly any 76ers game – defenders often back away and “dare” Simmons to shoot. In a league where outside shooting is more important than ever before, a starting point guard needs to have this ability.
“Jason Kidd, when he came in the league, wasn’t a great shooter, but he worked to the point where he became one of the best three-point shooters we’ve had in our league history. That will be his (Simmons) next progression,” Bryant said.
The ability to shoot is what separates Simmons from being an All-Star to being an MVP candidate. He will definitely jump up the list of top 30 NBA players if he improves that aspect.
Simmons Career Accolades
Simmons is a recipient of many high school and college basketball honors. More have been pouring in during his professional career.
Winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2017-18, even though he was technically in his second professional year, is a major honor. He continued to elevate his game, as he has two All-Star appearances as well (2019 and 2020). Last season he also led the NBA in steals per game.
Simmons is only 23-years-old. More honors will certainly be coming his way.
Last Word on Pro Basketball Ballots
We believe in full transparency in the top 30 NBA player rankings so we are going to disclose the ballots of our player rankings and where each contributor had each player ranked.
Tyler Marling – Site Manager – 22nd
Chase Gage – Managing Editor – 20th
David Knight – Marketing Manager – NR
Zack Kircher – Associate Editor – NR
Matthew Waldman – Associate Editor – NR
David Ward – Author – 28th
Avinash Chauhan – Contributor – 30th
Adam Zigner – Contributor – 16th
Albert Dadson – Contributor – 23rd
Dylan Guest – Contributor – 21st
Raheem Bashir – Contributor – 24th
Nathan Levine – Contributor – 22nd
Bill Huan – Contributor – 24th
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