Last season, Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd figured out he needs to play Giannis Antetokounmpo some as a point forward, that’s when they were at their best.
Sixers coach Brett Brown isn’t going to wait around to try the same experiment — he is going to play rookie Ben Simmons at the point forward some this season.
“I can’t wait for the season to begin and all over the place I’m very, very excited to start our season,” Brown said. “I think [Simmons] is going to have some taste of [point guard] for sure. He’ll dictate that himself when he rebounds and leads the break. I’ve said it many times, I think the NBA point guard is the hardest position in the NBA.
“He’s never played point guard, let alone NBA point guard, so what do you think he’s going to be? He has a real good chance to be that. I think initially we’re going to play him in different positions and that [point guard] will certainly be one of them. I believe he’s an elite passer. He has the mentality to do that first—and in a 6-foot-10 frame that weighs 240, 250 pounds, at 20 years old. That’s a great package to work with to play multiple positions.
“He’s going to be a facilitator. You’re going to see [Simmons] making plays. The ball will be in his hands and you can call what position you want. He’s certainly going to have the ball in his hands a lot, and everybody will certainly be reaping the benefits of that and truly enjoy playing with him. What we will say is we will give him the ball as much as we can.”
Simmons showed at Summer League he has a gift for passing — he finds the open man and makes passes both simple and spectacular. He also showed much of his game needs to catch up with his passing skills.
Brown realizes eventually Simmons is going to play a lot of point forward in Philly, so they may as well start young. Point guard has been a real issue for Philadelphia for a few seasons now, which is why this summer GM Bryan Colangelo brought in veterans Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez to stabilize the position.
But Simmons is the future playmaker/facilitator on this team. He’s got to have the ball in his hands. Starting from day one.