|Simmons averaged 19.2 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 4.8 apg, and led the nation with 23 double-doubles as a freshman.|
Still sure you want Ben Simmons as the number 1 pick?
The 6'10 point/power forward from Australia has all the talent and all the game to succeed on the big stage, but when it comes down to the level of maturity it takes to be a team's franchise player, Simmons has some serious red flags.
Let me preface what I have to say by making it clear that I hate the one-and-done rule. They should let them go straight from high school or be three years removed from it like they do in football and baseball.
Simmons didn't wanna be at LSU. Not for a one-year spectacle at least. He probably knew from the minute he stepped on campus he was no normal college student. He's Ben Simmons. And, everyone knows that he's less than a year away from becoming a millionaire.
But this is actually the new norm for college basketball now and guys are expected even as 18 and 19 years old to be able to handle it.
Simmons hasn't made the best case as being one of the guys that can handle it this year and his blatant disregard for the whole "student-athlete" thing causes questions of character, work ethic, and maturity.
|Simmons' passing ability has garnered him comparisons to the great Earvin "Magic" Johnson.|
The John Wooden player of the year award is one of the most prestigious accolades one can achieve as a college player, and for good reason. It not only acknowledges playing skill but also academic standing is incorporated.
Simmons didn't make the cut.
Student-athletes must maintain a 2.0 GPA to be eligible for the award. I guess no big deal but consider other one-and-dones such as Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and John Wall were eligible for the award. When asked about it, Simmons had this to say:
"Mr. Wooden was a teacher, right?"
Simmons then added, "It's their award. I'm not too worried about it. I just want to win. I'm a team guy. I just want my team to do well."
His team did not do well.
Winning is always the best elixir, and Simmons didn't do enough of it to turn his season into a feel good. Best example: Carmelo Anthony was academically ineligible for the Wooden in his one-and-done year but, not only did he lead Syracuse to a NCAA tournament berth, they won the whole thing.
LSU struggled all year and the losses of forwards Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin hurt it's consistency. But with Simmons, his AAU teammate and top recruit Antonio Blakeney, veteran swingman Tim Quarterman, and a few other key pieces, it should have been a cinch that the Tigers make the NCAA tournament. The wheels fell completely off when LSU got whooped by Texas A&M in the SEC tournament 71-38. But even if you go back to the loss at Kentucky March 6th, players were finger-pointing and complaining about a lack of leadership.
|Simmons and Blakeney couldn't lead LSU to a tournament berth, even in a below average year for the SEC.|
Something tells me that Simmons is the catalyst for Blakeney's sentiments.
When LSU did not qualify for the tournament, the school announced it would not participate in any postseason tournament.
Simmons doesn't want to get hurt before the upcoming draft so I get that but aren't there other players on the team, too? Would a university like LSU cater to a player/student who had what basically amounts to a one-year deal?
Simmons has hurt his draft stock from about December on (this is probably the point in the season where he felt he did enough to prove he was the best NBA draft prospect and got bored with the minutia of 'playing school') and all of the questions of character and work ethic and the lack of winning are starting to get noticed and analyzed by scouts and draft pundits.
Last week, Jonathan Givony of draftxpress.com dropped Simmons to No. 2 in favor of Duke's Brandon Ingram. People like NBC's Kurt Helin are reporting that Simmons at his best could be "peak Lamar Odom."
He's probably way too talented to pass up at outside of the top five, but the signs of negligible maturity are there.
-quotes c/o Jeff Goodman ESPN.com, Kurt Helin of NBC's ProBasketballTalk