LAS VEGAS – Ben Simmons hears all the chatter. For months, folks have questioned whether the 76ers were making the right decision by turning the 6-foot-10, 240-pounder into a point guard.
“Everybody is a coach,” Simmons said late Sunday at the NBA Summer League. “Everybody is a GM.”
Simmons, who missed his rookie season because of a Jones fracture in his right foot, is confident in his ability. In an age of what is for the most part position-less basketball, he thinks it’s just a matter of feeling things out and playing. However, he doesn’t want folks to get things twisted.
“For me, I think you can move me anywhere,” Simmons said. “But I’m a starting point guard.”
Simmons has been groomed to play the position while he rehabilitated his foot this entire off-season. Sixers coach Brett Brown talked about starting a rookie backcourt with Simmons and 2017 first overall pick Markelle Fultz after last month’s NBA draft.
The Sixers believe Fultz, a solid shooter and another point guard, is the perfect backcourt complement to Simmons.
“I have no problem sharing the ball,” Simmons said. “He doesn’t, either. Watching him play, he can share the ball.”
However, the team must find a way to incorporate free-agent acquisition J.J. Redick in the backcourt. The shooting guard will make $23 million and provide much-needed sharpshooting abilities. So it doesn’t make sense to bring him off the bench. To accommodate all three players, one could argue, the Sixers would be better off playing Simmons at point forward instead of point guard.
That would enable him to initiate offense after grabbing defensive rebounds, as he did at Louisiana State before he was taken No. 1 in the 2016 draft. His role would be similar to Draymond Green’s with the Golden State Warriors. Golden State’s offense runs through the all-star power forward. He often penetrates and finds the open player while point guard Stephen Curry is stationed without the ball at the three-point line.
Brown, however, is investing a lot of time in Simmons’ being the team’s point guard.