Ben Simmons has taken the NBA by storm, putting together one of the most impressive starts to a rookie season in recent memory. The 6’9 point guard looks like a power forward until you see the ball in his hands, and then you realize why Brett Brown decided to go forward with the experiment to put him at the 1-guard spot.
Simmons is averaging 18.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game through 19 games as a rookie, and that stat line and his status as a point guard trapped in a forward’s body reminds many of LeBron James. It’s not just fans or analysts grasping for a lazy comparison, Dwyane Wade sees the similarities between the two, as does J.J. Redick. James is quicker to pump the brakes on comparisons, trying to keep the weight of that pressure off of Simmons by noting Simmons is his own player.
That doesn’t mean James isn’t impressed by Simmons’ start or his abilities. LeBron has long been an admirer of Simmons’ skills, inviting the young Australian into his circle and into his offseason workouts as a high schooler. Simmons, who shares an agent with LeBron, remembers some of the early interactions he had with James, and the words of advice and encouragement he got from The King.