Ben Simmons has set himself one goal for the NBA’s Rising Stars game and it is not to use it as a stage to confirm his place as favourite for this year’s Rookie of the Year Award.
“I actually want to get the assists record,” the Australian told reporters ahead of Friday’s game in Los Angeles that kicks off NBA All-Star weekend.
“I don’t know what it is, but I want to get that.”
Washington Wizards Star John Wall holds the record with 22 assists in 2011.
Simmons’ team is stacked with three-point specialists.
Simmons was left out of Sunday’s All-Stars game featuring LeBron James, Steph Curry and the NBA’s other elite veteran players.
He was snubbed despite earning the third most fan votes among Eastern Conference guards, but he understands rookies, including James, were also snubbed during their first year in the NBA.
“I’m not concerned about that,” Simmons said.
“It’s not something I’m holding on to, but if you look at it is rare.
“LeBron didn’t make it and I think the last one was Blake (Griffin in 2011).”
Simmons will be in the world team for the Rising Stars game featuring other rookie and second-year players.
The world squad, featuring his Philadelphia 76ers team-mates Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, plays America’s best young players.
Simmons also dismissed questions about the game being crucial for confirming his favoritism for NBA Rookie of the Year, with the US team featuring Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, who has emerged as a potential rival for the award.
“My goal is to get to the playoffs,” Simmons said when asked about the rookie award.