Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons is one of the most polarizing players in the NBA.
His ardent supporters point to his multi-positional defensive ability and seemingly limitless potential.
Simmon’s detractors’ harp on his unwillingness to shoot outside the paint.
With the 6′ 10″ point guard, all of the above is true.
Those in his corner and against him make valid points, which makes determining whether or not he is overrated a personal opinion.
In the opinion of this Sixer fan, Simmons is not overrated.
His impact on the defensive end cannot be overstated.
But simultaneously, his impact on the offensive end is sometimes non-existent.
Not something a team can afford from their franchise-cornerstone point guard.
Simmons is an Elite Defender
The main selling point for Simmons not being overrated is his defense.
He has been a menace for opposing teams since his first season in 2017-2018.
And it seems he will be a perennial DPOY candidate for the foreseeable future.
Simmons finished 4th in DPOY voting last year and is off to a strong start this season.
Through 5 games, Ben is averaging 1.6 SPG and 1.6 BPG.
In addition to the counting stats, he already has 0.5 Defensive Win Shares – tied for 1st in the league.
Against the New York Knicks, Simmons was the primary defender against RJ Barrett.
Simmons won that battle – holding him to 1-8 shooting and forcing him into 2 turnovers.
Ben Simmons' defense this season:
Bradley Beal: 1/3 FG, 1 TOV
Russell Westbrook: 5/9 FG, 2 TOV
RJ Barrett: 1/8 FG, 2 TOV
Kevin Love: 0/3 FG, 2 BLK
Pascal Siakam: 3/11 FG, 1 TOV
Markelle Fultz: 1/6 FG, 1 TOV
Matchup stats via @nbastats pic.twitter.com/5v1x3GO4E1
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 1, 2021
Simmons has also been the primary defender on Pascal Siakam, Russell Westbrook, Markelle Fultz, and Collin Sexton this season.
Across 20:21 minutes defending these 4 players, Simmons has allowed 21 points on 9 of 27 shooting while forcing 4 turnovers and blocking 2 shots.
Most people do not take into account potential when determining how talented a player is.
But with Simmons, it’s something you cannot ignore.
He is only 24 years old and beginning his 4th year in the NBA.
The Australian is already an extremely talented multi-positional defender who scores 16 PPG without a jump shot.
Not to mention he also averages 8.0 APG for his career, making him an above-average floor general.
The shooting has always been the biggest detriment to his game, but there are signs of that improving.
After not attempting a single three-pointer his first two years, he made 2 last season and is 1-1 so far this season.
And there it is.@BenSimmons25 | #HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/Yzb5QlIaI9
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 31, 2020
He has clearly been putting in the work over the offseason and seems to be getting more comfortable.
What’s more promising is the improvement in shooting from the free-throw line, which is typically a good indicator of how well a player shoots the ball.
After shooting 56% from the line his rookie year, he jumped to 60% his sophomore year and then 62% last season.
While 62% is still not very good, it’s a promising development moving forward.
If Simmons can figure out the shooting, there is a case to be made for him being the best player in the league.
An All-Defensive caliber defender who can guard any position on the floor.
And then on offense, a 6’10” guard who can beat nearly anybody off the dribble and also shoot from deep.
Sounds awfully similar to a player out there in Los Angeles with the Lakers.
Comes Down to If…
As it currently stands, Simmons is by no means an overrated NBA player.
He is already an All-Defensive Team selection who finished 4th in DPOY voting last year.
Simmons is also a terrific driver and cutter who can find teammates anywhere on the court.
Doc Rivers on Ben Simmons: "He's got so many skills, and we're trying to get them all out of him… His instincts are unbelievable. We got three's just because Ben Simmons pushed the pace.. I thought he was terrific tonight."
— Michael K-B (@therealmikekb) December 27, 2020
The guard is a one-man fastbreak and a matchup nightmare.
He also made 3rd Team All-NBA last season – at the ripe age of 24.
There are 29 other teams who would love to have a player like that.
How great Simmons eventually becomes all boils down to the “if”.
If he can start to shoot regularly, there is no ceiling for how great he can be.NEXT: Is Doc Rivers Overrated? (3 Reasons Why He Is)