He hasn’t even played in NBA game yet, but No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons is already turning heads in NBA Summer League action. Simmons has already had multiple highlight plays, and now he’s being compared to LeBron James by his fellow players.
Chicago Bulls draft pick Denzel Valentine — the same one who will attempt to wear Michael Jordan’s old number this season — gave Simmons the title of “Mini-LeBron” after he faced Simmons in the Summer League. Via ESPN.com :
“He’s like a mini-LeBron,” the Bulls’ 14th overall pick said after facing Simmons for the first time as a pro Sunday. “LeBron’s probably top 10, so if he’s a mini-LeBron, that’s saying a lot.”
Simmons scored 18 points in the game against Chicago on 7-of-13 shooting. The Bulls got the win though, 83-70.
The comparisons to LeBron are a bit premature, to say the least, but Simmons certainly has the potential to be a franchise-changing player for Philadelphia once he further develops his game. He will specifically need to work on his jumper, as teams are basically letting him shoot from the outside in the Summer League, which is severely limiting his ability to make plays and cramping the paint, leaving few driving lanes.
Simmons probably won’t come anywhere close to doing this season what LeBron did in his rookie year back in 2003, but he will certainly have many highlight plays that are reminiscent of a pass-first LeBron and even some Magic for those who actually remember him.