The foreign flavour is only getting stronger in the NBA.
The public round of the NBA All Star voting process started yesterday and runs until February 16.
This means that anyone from the public can – once every 24 hours – vote on the NBA website for who they think should be in the starting five for the eastern and the western conferences in the NBA All Star game.
With the All Star game just around the corner, there’s been a lot of speculation around Australian Ben Simmons and whether or not he has been up to scratch in his first 16 games.
Simmons is only averaging 13 points per game (PPG) while in 2019-20 he averaged 16.4 PPG and the season before that, 16.9 PPG.
Despite this, Ben Simmons is worthy of another All Star appearance.
When it comes to NBA stats, most people just focus on the PPG, which in Simmons’ case, isn’t ideal. However, offensively, Simmons is still one of the best in the league.
He has the fourth most triple doubles in the league for this season (three) and is sixth in the league for assists per game. This season, Simmons has become well-known for driving into the key then slingshot passing to Danny Green, Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey or Shake Milton for the corner three.
When the Sixers have such a strong selection of guards, finding the corner has become a vital play for Philadelphia. Also, Simmons performs in crucial games. For example, he had a triple double (17 points, ten assists and 11 rebounds) in the 76ers’ one-point win over the Lakers.
However, what makes Simmons well and truly an All Star is his defence. This season, he is averaging a career high of 0.9 blocks per game and 7.2 defensive rebounds per game, keeping him in good stead for a back-to-back first-team All Defence selection, building on from last season. Simmons is also ninth in the league for most steals for the season (28) and 11th in the league for steals per game (1.6).
Some commentators even rate Simmons the second best defender in the competition.
Ben Simmons is a high-calibre player and what he’s been lacking in points this year, he’s been well and truly making up for in defence and with assists.
Simmons is definitely worthy of a third All Star appearance this year.