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Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) dribbles to the basket and is defended by Boston Celtics ahead Guerschon Yabusele (30) in the course of the first half on the TD Garden.(Photo: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

PHILADELPHIA – The minute Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons stepped on the court docket for his first skilled recreation, he was able to excel within the NBA.

“I feel like I’ve been preparing for this moment my whole life,” Simmons instructed USA TODAY Sports. “I put a lot of work in during the summer and when I was out all last season to get ready. There’s no secret to it. Just working hard.”

In the Sixers’ season-opener, Simmons had 18 factors, 10 rebounds and 5 badists; three video games later, he had his first triple-double (21 factors, 12 rebounds, 10 badists); and 5 video games after that, he grew to become simply the second participant in NBA historical past to report two triple-doubles in his first 9 video games, becoming a member of Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.

Playing with the poise and confidence of a five-year veteran, Simmons already is the favourite to win the rookie of the yr award in a deep rookie clbad. He is averaging nearly a triple-double at 17.eight factors, 10.1 rebounds and eight.zero badists and is capturing 48.7% from the sector.

“He completely exceeds his limited years in the league,” Sixers coach Brett Brown stated. “I’m not anointing him a veteran because he still has a long way to go, but you just feel he isn’t a nine-game rookie.”

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There are causes for Simmons’ spectacular debut. Though he’s a rookie, the 6-10 Simmons was drafted in 2016 however missed the 2016-17 recovering from surgical procedure on his proper foot to restore a Jones fracture. Jones fractures want loads of time to heal as Kevin Durant and Brook Lopez have skilled.

Simmons, 21, balanced the frustration of not taking part in with the persistence of understanding the mbadive image.

“I knew it was going to take a long time and get back to where I was and even better than that,” he stated. “Just knowing I want to be one the best players who ever played, there was no need for me to rush because I have plenty of time.”

The missed season had advantages for Simmons past letting his physique heal and enhancing his power. If expertise is the perfect instructor, then observing and absorbing is the subsequent greatest solution to be taught.

“Just learning the game from the point where I could see the whole floor and not just be on the court,” Simmonssaid. “It gave me an advantage coming into the season. I think that’s going to pay off a lot this season.”

Brown stated Simmons sitting out final season was priceless. He referred to as it his model of the Jon Gruden QB Camp. Let’s name it the Brett Brown Point Guard Camp, the place Brown and Simmons watched video, delving deep into defensive coverages and exhibiting how Simmons can exploit them.

“To sit in my office, I can talk to him and educate him and talk my words,” Brown stated. “It’s a like international language, NBA verbiage, and also you get an opportunity to be taught that. You get an opportunity to mentally take up a recreation. You can watch it and you’ll really feel it and I can speak to him in my workplace, the sport, halftime, textual content and ask, ‘What did you see?’

“It is an enormous profit to take a seat out for a yr and never be thrown into the fireplace from the get-go. That’s why rookies wrestle.”

Simmons is aware of the way to run the Sixers’ offense together with his distinctive skillset: dimension and size at 6-10; court docket imaginative and prescient; capability to make pbades; quickness; ball-handling expertise; scoring and not using a dependable three-point shot.

“Offensively, no one has the same game as me. People do similar things, but everyone has a different game,”Simmons stated. “When I see an opportunity, I just take it whether it’s an open lane or the defense sitting back.”

He retains his offensive recreation easy, too. He could make the flashy no-look go – he is aware of the way to beat the weak facet protection with cross-court pbades – however extra typically, it’s a basic go to a teammate on the three-point line. Forty-four of his 80 badists have been on three-pointers.

He is sixth within the league in badists and is fifth in factors created by badists at 21 per recreation, behind Russell Westbrook, James Harden, John Wall and LeBron James.

He is fast to go the ball, too, adhering to Brown’s philosophy of holding the ball not more than half-a-second earlier than both pbading or dribbling.

“If you’re attacking and moving and pbading, you’re going to catch somebody sleeping,” Simmons stated. “It’s difficult to play defense for 24 seconds.”

While he must develop a three-point shot but, that’s not even on the checklist of his priorities proper now. He can nonetheless rating by stepping into the lane together with his quickness and dimension, particularly on fastbreaks or in transition. Even in pick-and-rolls when defenders go beneath the display, Simmons nonetheless finds a lane to the basket.

“Ben’s not worried about what he can’t do,” his agent Rich Paul stated. “He’s focused on what he can do which is playing the right way and being a good teammate. When you do those things, you’re going to have success. Most guys are trying to get back last year in one game. He hasn’t done that. It’s not who he is. He’s comfortable being who he is.”

As good as he’s been, Simmons will get higher.

“I’ve always loved playing the game, and the work aspect comes from knowing how good you can be and how great you want to be,” he stated. “I see the way LeBron (James) works and how he takes care of himself. That fuels me because I want to be one of the best players in the league.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt

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