Simmons was expected to be a franchise-level player coming out of LSU, so the entire NBA community is eagerly anticipating his debut, which will (hopefully) come next season. But when Simmons takes the court for the first time, he’ll reportedly be even taller than he was when he was drafted.
Former 76er World B. Free told CSN Philly’s Jon Johnson that he thinks Simmons, officially listed at 6-foot-10, has grown since Draft Day:
“It seems like Ben Simmons grew about another two inches since he’s been here. I told him that the other day, I said, ‘Ben, you look like you’ve grown another two inches since you’ve been here.’ His arms are long, he’s lean, he’s in shape. When I watched him in practice -- just in practice -- he’s like a baby Magic Johnson. He’s practiced with LeBron -- he worked out with LeBron -- so LeBron’s probably going to beat him up and make him strong.”
Jon Johnson later (presumably after breaking out a tape measure) confirmed Simmons’ height at ‘just under’ 7 feet.
Can confirm Ben Simmons is just under 7'.— Jon Johnson (@jonjohnsonwip) April 6, 2017
Sixers coach Brett Brown, however, vehemently denies the rumors, saying that Simmons has not grown two inches.
Brett Brown on whether Ben Simmons grew 2 inchces: "No, he did not. I wish he did, but he did not."— Nick Metallinos (@NickMetallinos) April 8, 2017
So there are conflicting reports, but this could be some gamesmanship on the part of Brown. After all, if Simmons is actually 7-feet tall, it might be worth hiding that fact from other teams until they see it for themselves.
Simmons wouldn’t be the first player to add inches after coming into the league -- Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett and probably some other players not named Kevin come to mind -- but it’s Simmons’ skill set which makes his new height so intriguing.
The 20-year-old Australia native has played point-forward since high school, but the Sixers have already announced intentions of playing Simmons legitimately as the point guard -- defending the position and everything. So having a true 7-footer playing point guard would be something the NBA has certainly never seen, and immediately makes next season’s Sixers must-watch TV.
What’s curious is that because there are so many talented point guard prospects in this year’s draft, on paper it makes sense to pair Simmons with one of them. But if they want Simmons to handle the ball as the true point guard, maybe the Sixers would prefer to target a scoring wing player like Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum.
Watching what the Sixers do in this June’s draft might provide a clue as to how they plan to use Simmons down the road, but you can never take anything too seriously with the Sixers. They’re constantly in the asset collection business, whether the pieces fit together or not.
And it appears Simmons could be an even bigger piece than they thought.