Since the start of his freshman year at LSU, everyone has regularly put LeBron James and Ben Simmons in the same sentence. It comes with good reason, too. The first overall pick asserted total dominance while with the Tigers, putting up numbers that would’ve probably resembled the King’s had he gone to college.
Shaquille O’Neal, an alumnus of LSU and recent Hall of Fame inductee, spoke very highly of this year’s first overall selection to CSN Philly’s Jessica Camerato, “I don’t know all of them, but I know my guy’s going to be pretty good, Ben Simmons.”
“He’s a LeBron-type player,” said the Diesel. “What I mean by that, LeBron does a nice job of making everybody else around him better—passing the ball, doing the small things—and Ben is that type of player.”
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Simmons did an excellent job of showcasing what he’s capable of while down in Baton Rogue, and it’s been argued that he wasn’t playing with total aggressiveness for the entirety of his freshman year. LeBron James lacks the killer instinct of great scorers, and people around the league have come to grips with the fact that he’s not a cold-blooded killer. Simmons is very much the same. He looked bored at times during NCAA games, but that’s sure to change when he hits the NBA floor and is challenged by players better than him.
Simmons also lacks an outside jump shot, something he didn’t need at all as a freshman because he was big enough–and comfortable enough with the basketball–to get to the basket at will. When the Summer League came around, Simmons showcased his jump shot more and more and has undoubtedly been working on it.
The Tigers didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tournament, which led to a lot of hate being thrown Simmons’ way because no one would be able to see how he played when the bright lights were on. Regardless, he was a man amongst boys during the 33 regular season contests. He was an All-American for a reason, and he was right up there when discussing the best players in the SEC.
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