It’s safe to say that the first two picks in the NBA draft will be Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. The only difficulty is determining who goes to what team. If you’re the 76ers, you’re desperate for a superstar to build around as both Simmons and Ingram have that ceiling. Despite this ceiling for both players, only one of them are being discussed as a potential bust, and that’s Ben Simmons. Calling Ben Simmons a bust because he won’t be the next LeBron James is like being mad someone didn’t rebuild Rome in a day.
Ben Simmons from Louisiana State University has been widely regarded as the best player to enter the draft in quite some time. His impressive size at 6’10 and passing abilities have garnered his comparisons to the great Magic Johnson and LeBron James. These comparisons may be a blessing, or it may in fact be a curse. This level of acclaim may come with this level of expectations, and while Magic Johnson was able to have Kareem Abdul Jabaar by his side, and LeBron James was a physical specimen unlike we’ve ever seen, Simmons doesn’t have these luxuries. His body type is not at the level of LeBron James, and with all due respect, Okafor and Embiid don’t hold a candle to Kareem. These level of expectations would be unfair due to the team Simmons will be entering.
Simmons spent the last college basketball season averaging 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. Just to give you an idea on how great those numbers are, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson were inferior players to Ben Simmons during their college days as neither were able to beat him in more than 1 of these categories. Many claim that his inability to lead LSU to a playoff spot is why he may be a bust. Well consider this, Simmons was responsible for at least 29 points a game. LSU averaged 76 points. So, for most of his time at LSU, Simmons was nearly doing half of the work on offense, with a team and a coach who couldn’t shine Simmon’s shoes, his new shoe courtesy of Adidas.
Looking at every number one overall pick in the 21st century, it’s safe to say that whether it’s Simmons or Ingram, they’ll both turn out to be highly productive as all but five of these picks have made all-star teams. Two of them are expected to make all-star teams in the future with Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony Towns have both won the Rookie of the Year award, and they’ve got plenty of time to make an all-star team. Will Simmons turn into the next LeBron James, being in the MVP argument every season and the best player in the world discussion after just a few seasons? Probably not, but to say he’s already going to be a bust due to the teams that can pick him or due to a lack of leadership is insulting to his skillset and his talents. Philly or Los Angeles, if he’s on the board, take him!