Ben Simmons is the best player not in the NBA. Simmons is a freshman power forward at LSU and is another one-and-done college player, and who could blame him? He is freak of nature. He is 6’10” but his game is as smooth as 6’3” guard. He is 6’10” so you know he gets boards. At this point in time, he averages 20 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists on about 58% shooting from the field. He is currently top three in rebounds, the fifth scoring forward in college, number one in assist by forwards.
Now to the naked eye these stats don’t jump off the paper, but if you want to use a more advanced stat, which is a more accurate way to project a college player to the NBA, he shines brighter than a prospect in years. An advanced stat like, Player Impact Estimate (PIE), he is the best in the nation right now. The formula for PIE is: (PTS+FGM+FTM-FGA-FTA+DREB+(.5*OREB)+AST+STL+(.5* BLK)-PF-TO) / (GmPTS+GmFGM+GmFTM-GmFGA-GmFTA+GmDREB+(.5*GmOREB)+GmAST+GmSTL+(.5*GmBLK)-GmPF-GmTO). This is a metric that is commonly used to evaluate the NBA players but let’s apply to present and past college players. A player with a score of 10 or over is deemed to be above average.
Ben Simmons’ score is 22.1 which is first in the nation. The closest player is Kris Dunn of Providence and his score is 17.8. The next three players in order is Buddy Hield (Oklahoma), Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga), and George Niang (Iowa State).
Now against the past five Naismith winners, which include players like Frank Kaminsky and Anthony Davis, Simmons still is number one. The closest to Simmons’s score of 22.1 is Kaminsky’s score of 20.6. Even though I think Ben Simmons will not finish with a higher PPG than many, or any, of those past five winners, his PIE will be higher than all of them. His total impact on defense, scoring the ball and passing the ball is just amazing by a 19-year-old freshman on team that is very average. Without Simmons, many people would forget LSU had a basketball team.
After all of the stats, let’s go to the eye test. He plays the game beautifully. He knows his game he doesn’t take many long shots; he just gets to the rim with his quick first step. Once he polishes his mid-range shot he will be one of hardest players to guard in college and then one of the hardest players to guard in the NBA. If any team tries to key on him, his basketball IQ is high enough to feed his teammates. For example, against Kentucky on Tuesday he saw that Tim Quarterman was having a hot night and he let him work. Many players at his age would try to win those big games by themselves, but he does not. Simmons only took five shots. He made all five shots and had 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists.
If you don’t believe my or your own eyes, you will definitely believe Earvin Magic Johnson’s eyes. Here is one tweet and here is the other tweet. The Lakers and the Sixers are racing to the bottom of the NBA because the prize at the bottom is Mr. Simmons.
Stats Courtesy of ESPN.com
Specials Thanks To: Magic Johnson’s Twitter