76ers coach Brett Brown on 6-foot-10 Ben Simmons:
“My intention is to give him the ball and let him be the point guard,” Brown said. “That’s the plan.
Former 76ers coach Larry Brown on Simmons, as transcribed by CSN Philly:
“He’s not a point guard,” Brown said Monday on 97.5 The Fanatic’s Midday Show. “Everybody that’s saying that is ridiculous.
“I watched that kid at Montverde. He’s a point guard when he gets the ball in the half court. He’s a point guard if he gets the ball off the board because he’s such a willing passer and so good with the ball, but if he’s going to have to back it down and bring the ball up against little guys, it’s going to take away from what he’s capable of doing. Whoever is saying that is a moron.”
“He’s a point guard in transition,” Brown said. “He’s a point guard when he gets the ball off the board. But he’s not a point guard running ball screens. He’s not a point guard bringing the ball up. It’s not fair to him. He’s a great passer. He’s a willing passer.
“It’s never fair to compare players, but he’s a little like Magic in terms of his size and his ability to pass the ball, but I think he can play on any team and be successful. Look at the big kid in Milwaukee — the Greek Freak (Giannis Antetokounmpo) — look at Paul George to an extent, (Kevin) Durant to an extent. That’s more like Ben and the way he plays. It’s not like a true point guard bringing the ball up like Kyrie Irving or Chris Paul or somebody like that.”
Larry Brown has a very traditional view of what a point guard should be, and – for better or worse – he spent his career jamming his point guards into that box. That frustrated every small guard who played for him, but most of them learned valuable skills in the process.
Brett Brown is far more open-minded. Simmons would face difficulties at point guard, but he’d also cause difficulties for opposing teams. As Brett Brown explained, the rising second-year rookie could be a “matchup nightmare:”
Ultimately, I think if he were more aware Brett Brown – a coaching disciple of Gregg Popovich, whom Larry Brown mentored – is pushing for Simmons to play point guard, Larry Brown would have chosen his words more carefully. But there’s no changing Larry Brown’s delightfully curmudgeonly views on point guards.