Every college basketball season, there is always big name players coming out of high school that is a member of big name schools such as Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Indiana, or even Michigan State. It is rare to see potentially the best player in the country go to a school that is now struggling to make it into the “Big Dance”. When Ben Simmons was getting ready to commit to a university, he was the fourth-ranked high school player. He had narrowed down his list to LSU, Kentucky, Kansas and Duke.
His school of choice, LSU Tigers. Almost everyone was surprised about him going to the bayou when he had offers from three of the four “blue-blood” schools that have so much history embedded into them, including better chances to win a national title. The only reason I was able to come up with for him deciding to commit to LSU, is that he knew he would be the highlight player on that team and no one else would be able to shine above him. I am not saying that he wanted to be the only one in the spotlight, I am saying that it’s a lot easier to get media attention when there is no one else on the team that has the same talent that Simmons has.
LSU is not a basketball school in my opinion. When people start talking about Louisiana State University, at least in the sports world, the first thought that pops into mind is Les Miles on the sideline, potentially eating some grass. And there is nothing wrong with a school not being a basketball school; there just is not as much media attention during basketball season as there is during football season, however, the Tigers have done fairly well since the 2011-2012 season having a winning basketball record every year since then.
This year, even though they have a winning record and are in the top four of the SEC, the Tigers might be on the outside looking in when it comes to the “Big Dance” this year. That is a little hard to believe too since they have arguably the No. 1 pick in this year’s upcoming NBA draft. LSU has some good wins against Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and they are playing Kentucky again to hopefully complete the season series, however, as many good wins as they have, they also have some bad losses that include: Charleston, Wake Forest and Alabama.
This year, Simmons is averaging 19.7 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. Unless LSU makes it to the SEC finals and potentially make it a must-win, he will be taking his double-double averaged numbers to the NIT. There are a few things to marvel at when it comes to watching Simmons play. He can score from anywhere on the court (but do not count on him taking a lot of three point shots), rebound against some of the biggest guys below the rim, and dish out some of the sweetest assists.
I just do not think that he is the best option to take with the No. 1 pick. We can assume that the Philadelphia 76ers are going to have the No. 1 selection, however, Simmons would arguably not fair well in the City of Brotherly Love. Jahlil Okafor is establishing himself as a decent four or five on the court, they also have Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Kendall Marshall. If Simmons were to come in and play at the guard position, he would definitely be the top dog playing the one or two, however, he would not be the best player on that team.
I think Simmons has the talent to make it in the NBA, he just needs to put in some hard work to make him indispensable. There are a few things that I am surprised about when he plays, especially his talent at rebounding and driving to the basket. With that being said, there are also negative issues I notice, such as his attitude and terrible body-language at times. At this moment, I think he would be a major gamble to take with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.