The Australian Basketball community has always admired the quality of the NBA, affiliating themselves with their favourite team or player from halfway across the world.
The rise of basketball has been dramatic, with American’s coming to play in our national competition, the NBL, bypassing their collegiate system.
With many teams settling down from the excitement of the fresh year, getting into the swing of the rigorous season, fans are noticing certain players dominating the start of the year.
Milwaukee Bucks star, Giannis Antetokounmpo has already raised discussion of MVP candidacy with his dominant start to the year, averaging 31 points per game as well as 10 rebounds.
However, the talk has been all about Australia, and in particular, 2016 number one pick, Ben Simmons.
The Australian native has been a revelation for the long-suffering Philadelphia fans, along with Joel Embiid.
They are quickly becoming one of the toughest teams in the NBA, not being easy pushovers like they have been in recent seasons, along with showing class and skill, proving their high pick worth in their respective drafts.
Simmons has been the talk of the town in Philly however, ever since he began his college career at LSU.
Ignoring the major colleges, Simmons’ decision proves his loyalty to family and the organisation he’s with, which would please everyone involved within the Philadelphia organisation.
After missing his first year with a broken right foot, Simmons is letting no stone unturned with clinical performances each night for the 76ers.
While Simmons doesn’t possess a Steph Curry-like arsenal of long range shooting, his awareness and IQ of the game allows him to get the shots he wants, and the shots for his teammates.
The 6’10 forward running the offence gives the 76ers so much space on the floor, with Robert Covington and JJ Redick as outside shooters, and Embiid able to stretch the floor also.
The rookie is averaging a near triple-double in the early parts of the year, with 18.5pts, 9.6reb and 8ast per game. He is finding the right shots, shooting 53% from the field and ranks in the top 50 in the NBA for PER [Player Efficiency Rating] with 21.78.
While it was expected from Simmons, with many likening him to LeBron James before his NBA career began, no one expected the early dominance he is already displaying on a consistent basis, albeit 10 games in to the season.
So much has been his domination over the floor, including his first triple-double against Detroit Pistons a week ago, many are invested in awards discussion for the Australian.
While Rookie of the Year isn’t decided after the first ten games, many analysts believe Simmons is a shoe-in, as well as possibly earning his first All-Star selection in a depleted Eastern Conference.
Australian NBA correspondent, Olgun Uluc of FoxSports, pleaded we stop treating Simmons like a ‘Rookie of the Year contender, and more like a potential All-Star.’
It may only be early in the season, however Simmons is performing like a seasoned star, ready to hit the conversation of major end-of-season awards, and he is just 21 years of age.