As the NBA Draft approaches, there's always a lot of talk about NBA comparisons. Ben Simmons will be the No. 1 pick, and everyone wants to know whom he will compare to.
Using the DraftExpress measurements database, which includes data from various measurement sources going back more than 15 years, along with Simmons' recorded measurements at LSU:
- Simmons has a 41.5-inch maximum vertical, the best of any player 6-foot-9 or taller in shoes.
- Simmons ran the three-quarter-court sprint in 2.9 seconds, the fastest of any player 6-foot-8 or taller in shoes.
- Simmons has a 12-foot-6 maximum vertical reach, the highest reach of any player.
Who is Ben Simmons?
Is he LeBron James?
We don’t have any college statistics for James, so we’ll go through measurements. Simmons and James measured with the exact same wingspan (7-foot-1/4) prior to the NBA draft. At 6-foot-10, Simmons is 2 inches taller than James and has a 2-inch advantage in standing reach. James had slightly lower body fat.
Is he Magic Johnson?
As a freshman, Simmons did most of his work around the basket. Johnson was more of a perimeter player. Simmons had more rebounds (11.8 to 7.9 for Johnson) and fewer assists (4.8 to Johnson's 7.4), but he shot 56 percent, 10 percentage points higher than Johnson. One similarity is that Johnson wasn't known for his outside shooting -- he made seven 3-pointers as an NBA rookie. Simmons made only one as a freshman.
Is he Grant Hill?
Simmons is more advanced than Grant Hill at the same age. As freshmen, Simmons posted better numbers all around. Even per 40 minutes, Simmons had more points, rebounds and assists, as well as a higher field goal percentage. In fact, Simmmons averaged more points and rebounds as a freshman than Hill did as a senior.
Is he Lamar Odom?
Simmons averaged 4.8 assists per game as a freshman. That's the most assists per game by any Division I freshman 6-foot-10 or taller since assists became an official stat in 1983-84. Next was 3.8 per game by Lamar Odom in 1998-99 for Rhode Island. As freshmen, Simmons had better numbers all-around, but Odom averaged 17.6 and 9.4 rebounds and wasn’t too far from Simmons’ production.
Is he Josh Smith?
There are some similarities between Simmons and Josh Smith. Their wingspan, standing reach and maximum vertical leap are all similar. At 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, Simmons is about 2 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than Smith was coming into the NBA Draft. They are both lefties and can play inside and outside, but Smith has never been the playmaker that Simmons could be (Smith's highest assist average was 4.2 per game).
Simmons could be a combination of all these guys, or perhaps he will be nothing like any NBA player we've seen before.