Sixers rookie Ben Simmons leads the NBA in passes made this season

Sixers rookie Ben Simmons leads the NBA in passes made this season


Sixers rookie Ben Simmons leads the NBA in passes made this season

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Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons has made more passes than any other player in the league. Simmons also ranks first in most passes received.

He has averaged 76.0 passes per game, which is a dozen more than the next leading player in the Eastern Conference. His court vision has led to insane highlights like the one shown above on a pass to Robert Covington, which was one of the most impressive from any player this season.

Covington is shooting an impressive 40.4 percent on three-point attempts after passes from Simmons. (For comparison, on passes from all other players, he is shooting 34.3 percent.)

Joel Embiid is shooting 42.6 percent on three-pointers after he has received dishes from Simmons. Almost exactly half of his connected shots taken from long distance have come from the rookie. The big man is shooting just 25.0 percent beyond the arc after passes from anyone else on the Sixers.

The 21-year-old has also received a staggering 81.6 passes per game. For comparison, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook currently averages 77.9 and Houston’s James Harden is at 74.9.

His best offensive weapon as a scorer is his prowess in the paint. Defenders have realized this, of course, and have adjusted accordingly.  When he has been guarded with a hard double team on post-up opportunities, he has not taken a scoring attempt this season.

But when Simmons passes the ball away in these scenarios, teammates are shooting 11-for-19 (57.9 percent) with 1.53 points per possession. This ranks in the 89th percentile among all players in the league, per Synergy Sports.

With instincts like that, it’s no surprise that he already has 170 more assists than the next-best rookie in that category so far this season. He has already totaled 104 assists to Dario Saric. To put that in perspective, Covington has 110 assists to anyone for Philadelphia and fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma currently has 106 assists total.

If only his assists to Saric counted, Simmons would still have more than top rookies like Boston’s Jayson Tatum (88), Phoenix’s Josh Jackson (82) and Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen (67).

Simmons is the league leader in touches per game (98.1) and leads the East in distance traveled on the court with 2.61 miles per game. Philadelphia entrusted the first-year player to run their offense and he has been phenomenal in that role.

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