The Philadelphia 76ers have quietly been one of the hottest teams in basketball over the last few weeks. Their five-game winning streak is tied for the second-longest in the league right now, and with their 6-4 record, Philly is in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference. It’s still very early, but this has been an encouraging start to the year for the young Sixers.
At the center of things has been Ben Simmons, who in addition to being the Rookie of the Year frontrunner looks like one of the most versatile players in the NBA. He leads the team in assists and steals per game, is tied with Joel Embiid for the team lead in rebounds per game, and only Embiid is producing more points on a nightly basis than Simmons.
In fact, Simmons has accrued 178 points, 101 rebounds, and 80 assists in 10 games, which is really good. It’s so good that no one has done this in the last 35 years.
Coming into the league in 2015, Simmons was the kind of uniquely talented player who could impact the game in a number of ways — there aren’t many 6’10 point guards who can do basically anything that have came through the league. But the fact that he’s having this kind of impact this early in his career is still a bit of a surprise.
If he tapers off or slows down as the year progresses, it’ll be chalked up to him being a rookie and the league catching up to him. If not, it’s not a stretch to say that Simmons might put together one of the best campaigns from a first-year player that we’ve seen, even if he more or less redshirted last season.