Ben Simmons has bought into coach Brett Brown’s vision that Simmons will be the Philadelphia 76ers’ starting point guard for the 2017-18 season.
“I think you can move me anywhere. But I’m a starting point guard,” Simmons told reporters Sunday at the Las Vegas summer league.
If he is officially listed by the 76ers at point guard, the 6-foot-10 Simmons would sit atop the list of tallest rotation point guards for the 2017-18 season. Golden State Warriors backup Shaun Livingston currently tops that list at 6-7, according to ESPN Stats Information.
However, in the “positionless” NBA, four players listed at 6-7 or taller (LeBron James, 6-8; Jimmy Butler, 6-7; Giannis Antetokounmpo, 6-11; DeMar DeRozan, 6-7) ranked in the top 30 in time of possession last season, according to NBA.com player tracking.
Sixers draft pick Markelle Fultz, 6-5, played point guard at Washington, but Philadelphia sees him as a shooting guard to complement Simmons in the backcourt.
Simmons was the No. 1 overall pick in last season’s draft. Fultz was the top selection this June.
Simmons said he was impressed by Fultz’s play in the summer league before he sprained his ankle, which will sideline him for one to two weeks. Simmons said he expects that he and Fultz will work well together.
“I have no problem sharing the ball. He doesn’t, either. Watching him play, he can share the ball,” Simmons told reporters.
Simmons played forward in his one season at LSU. He was sidelined for all of last season after fracturing the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot in training camp and later undergoing surgery.
Before his injury, Simmons’ passing skills were on display during the Utah and Las Vegas summer leagues last year. In Utah, he led all players by averaging 5.5 assists per game in two games. He also averaged 5.5 assists in four games in Las Vegas.
Simmons, who has been taking part in full-contact activity this offseason, told reporters Sunday he feels “great.”
Brown announced last December that he planned to use Simmons at point guard. In April he stood firm with his decision, telling the Vertical Podcast that “when I say ‘point guard,’ I mean ‘point guard,'” although he said he doesn’t envision Simmons guarding the opposing team’s point guard during games.
After drafting Fultz last month, Brown said of Simmons: “We’re excited to use him as the primary ball carrier.”