NBA commentator and former NBA Dunk Champ Brent Barry had some very high praise for 76ers rookie Ben Simmons. Barry said matter-of-factly after Simmons fourth NBA game: “Simmons was just remarkable tonight. And I think that for people who have not watched him play a ton yet they’re gonna get a chance and when you do what you’ve got to really take notice of is the complete control that Ben Simmons plays with for a guy that’s playing in his first year.”
Barry thinks that Simmons’s year on the bench, spent watching the team and the entire NBA from close-up while healing from surgery, has been key. (A scenario similar to when freshman didn’t play varsity ball, as back when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — that is, Lew Alcindor — was at UCLA.) “It’d be interesting,” Barry said, “to see how much Ben talks about [what it meant] being on the bench, being around last year, being at practice, thinking about what he was gonna be capable of doing once he steps on the floor.” Barry continued about Simmons preternatural control: “He was dictating so man things on the floor and seeing things develop and happen at a pace that was just fantastic.” And all of it, Barry says, at 6’10” where he can see over the top like few others.