Ben Simmons shines in more than just the stats

April 28, 2018 GMT

The Philadelphia 76ers have advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since the 2012 season. The Sixers played some terrific basketball in the first round, eliminating the Miami Heat in five games.

Throughout their first-round matchup, they received contributions from a number of players such as Joel Embiid, JJ Redick, Marco Belinelli, Dario Saric, Ersan Ilyasova and Robert Covington.

However, the one player who has remained steady throughout the playoffs, in not just one area but in so many areas, has been rookie point guard Ben Simmons. Simmons, a 6-foot-10, 230-pounder, has the ability to control the pace of the game.

He’s done it mostly with his ball-handling, passing and leadership. You hear a lot of people compare him to former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson because of his size and passing skills. His ability to look for the open man has brought a lot of excitement back to the game that not only Magic Johnson possessed, but Boston Celtics great Larry Bird as well.

Along with his passing skills, Simmons has displayed a tremendous amount of poise. In a very physical and tense playoff series with the Heat, he stood tall in his first post-season appearance.

Simmons has performed very well when the Sixers have needed it the most, especially in the absence of All-Star center Joel Embiid.

In Game 4, he recorded a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Simmons was the first rookie to do so since Johnson did it in 1980 playoffs. That’s quite an accomplishment. He’s already looking forward to the next round.

“On to the next series,” Simmons said following the Sixers’ victory over the Heat in Game 5. “We’ve got to focus on that. For me, this is my first season playing so this is what I’m going to expect now. Going into [the next series], we’ve got to lock in and focus on the next team we play.”

Simmons has been locked in all season long. He averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game during the regular season. He has made himself a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year.

Moreover, he has taken his game to another level in the postseason, which is really impressive. He is averaging 18.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game in the playoffs.

The statistics clearly reflect his brilliant play, but it’s not just the numbers. That’s easy to see on paper. It’s his play on the court.

Simmons has shown remarkable consistency. And that’s what he has given the Sixers in the playoffs.