BEN Simmons' record-breaking start to his NBA career has placed the young Australian on a path to greatness.

But what makes Simmons so dominant for a 21-year-old rookie?

Talk to NBA scouts, coaches, reporters and fellow players and the answer is multi-layered, which makes the boy from Melbourne so strong for a rising baller.

Simmons possesses the perfect package to star on the basketball court.

Standing at almost seven foot, he has the height and wingspan to outreach, outscore and out-rebound his rivals.

Weighing in at 104 kilos, Simmons also has the physical presence to be dominant in the paint at both ends of the floor.

According to Sixers beat writer Keith Pompey from the Philadelphia Inquirer, it's a formidable mix that will make Simmons a 'special' player.

"Ben is a mismatch waiting to happen," Pompey said.

"He is 6'10 and 230 pounds, so he has the build of a power forward.

"But he is too quick for them. The average power forward can't guard him because they can't keep up. "Then when you put a point guard on Ben, he is too big for the point guard."

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons drives against Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews.
Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons drives against Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews.

Ben's father Dave also excelled as a professional basketballer. While he didn't play in the NBA, Simmons senior carved out a successful career in Australia with five different clubs.

He was particularly effective with the Melbourne Tigers, where he won an NBL championship in 1993 and has his No. 25 jersey retired by the franchise.

As a player, Simmons senior was a feared and respected power forward/centre. Just like his son has exploded out of the blocks in his maiden NBA season, Dave's rookie NBL campaign in 1989 was also impressive.

Simmons senior scored 28 points on debut against Hobart, before going on to score 30 or more points seven times in his first season.

When you watch Ben in action, it's clear the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree in the genetics stakes.

Ben Simmons as a baby with his father.
Ben Simmons as a baby with his father.

For a young player, Simmons is refreshingly selfless and smart at both ends of the floor. Normally NBA rookies take time to develop their team skills, like passing, rebounding and steals.

Simmons, though, already has the moves to make a veteran proud.

In fact, some of the game's greatest players have praised the young Aussie for his ability to create opportunities for his teammates.

NBA Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins believes Simmons' ability to read plays on the court is the hallmark of a great player.

"You rarely see a guy at his age, at the beginning of his career, with that type of natural feel for the game," Wilkins told ESPN. "They try to keep him out the paint and try to make him a jump-shooter, but he finds a way to be effective. He's going through that learning process now, but he's learning very quickly - he's special."

Simmons has averaged 8.0 assists per game - the 13th rookie to do so - while he is the first debutant to average 10.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 2.5 deflections per game.

Simmons is far from the polished product on the offensive end.

That's not to say the Melbourne-born guard can't shoot. He is averaging 17.8 points per game, while he has an impressive field goal percentage of 65.8 from within five feet of the basket, which is better than superstars Russell Westbrook and DeMarcus Cousins.

Despite this, Simmons is yet to perfect his jump shot from outside the paint.

According to Pompey, though, the NBA community collectively believe the Philadelphia rookie has the ability to overcome his main weakness.

"You talk to coaches around the league and they say, once Ben gets a jump shot he is going to be unstoppable," he said.

"Because it is hard to stop him from the rim, people try and back away from him to prevent driving lanes. But they are giving Ben a wide, open shot and once he can make them consistently, they won't be able to do that.

"Because once they come up, he is going to go right by them."

Ben Simmons is on track to make the NBA All-Stars as a rookie.
Ben Simmons is on track to make the NBA All-Stars as a rookie.


Simmons has only played a handful of NBA games, but Pompey says he is on track to achieve legendary status.

"You don't want to put the pressure on Ben by anointing him the second coming of LeBron James," he said.

"But if he stays on the same progression he is on, I can see the 76ers retiring his jersey."



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