Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons has already become a dominant threat on offense with elite skills as both a scorer and distributor.
Robert Covington, his teammate, noted the impact of the first-year player (via Philly.com):
“His talent offensively is given already – get to the rim, find cutters, penetrate, just making the right plays.”
Simmons is 87-of-112 (77.7 percent) when cutting to the basket so far this season, averaging 1.49 points per possession. Among those with 100 or more opportunities, only Cleveland’s LeBron James has been more accurate.
He is 25-of-28 (89.3 percent) on screen cutters with 1.66 PPP. This trails only Golden State’s Kevin Durant among those with 15 or more possessions.
The rookie is also 9-for-10 (90.0 percent) with 1.75 PPP when he cuts from a post-up after defense commits, which leads all qualified players.
As such with Simmons, Philadelphia has cut to the basket more often (8.9 percent frequency) than all but just two teams in the league. It’s much more often than the rate they ran cutters (7.9 percent) last season.
The Sixers have averaged 1.33 PPP on this play type, which ranks in the 90th percentile in the league. Last year, they ranked in the 62nd percentile.
Thus far, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the only team in the NBA that has been more efficient on cutters. The Golden State Warriors are the only squad that has scored more points per game on cutters than Philadelphia (13.1) so far.
While he often matches up against point guards, his overall scoring near the basket is already elite. The only players who have scored more points in the paint per game (12.8) have been Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and James.