Signs in Philadelphia are increasingly pointing toward Ben Simmons as the Sixers No. 1 draft choice following a much-publicized meeting of the minds last Thursday night. This Thursday, he'll likely be the first overall pick and assumed leader of the franchise for years to come. As is custom with the top star in each draft, the media attention is on the way.
We got a small taste of Simmons' mindset in this sit-down with ESPN's Chris Broussard. Simmons addressed a few topics, including how he benefitted from having a father who played basketball overseas. The Aussie product described his basketball upbringing:
In Australia of course we play European style of play, so you pass a lot, it's more team-orientated. The objective is to win, it's not about stats, scoring, rebounds, it's just about winning, so I think growing up in that environment helped me a lot... my coach still tells to shoot the ball more, I don't think I score enough.
This might explain some of the criticism regarding his "mentality" playing basketball; Simmons was chided at times for not taking over as the main man at LSU, but count me in the camp that treasures talented players who make the "right" play and look to keep their teammates involved.
Also of note to Sixers fans is a short exchange a little over a minute into the video:
Broussard: Your jump shot, what do you say to those who say 'well, he's got to learn to shoot better'?
Simmons: There's nothing to say, I averaged 20.
Simmons would go on to say that he's working on every part of his game, and his defiant response to the question shows how much confidence this kid is carrying into the league. There will certainly be an adjustment period as he prepares to match up with grown men, but there's no shortage of tools to help him work through the initial struggles.