The following exchange occured between Sixrs' 2016 first overall pick Ben Simmons and the media Monday morning.
"Ben Simmons, what are you better at after a year in the NBA?"
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"But what in particular?"
After sitting out the entire 2016-17 regular season after getting foot surgery, Simmons has been fighting is way back and taking mental reps on the sidelines. And after a year of watching the NBA from up close, the 6-foot-10 point-forward (who will play point guard for Brett Brown's offense) is beaming with confidence. The kind of confidence Sixers fans want to see from a potential superstar.
"The potential to be a great leader, it's not an easy thing to say but I believe that I can lead this team even if I am one of the youngest guys on the team," Simmons said. "Learning a lot who I am as a leader, teammate friend, players, everything."
Simmons is a rookie by technicality only. The 20-year-old will take the floor with a veteran mindset, looking to lead a team that will likely play at least four players in their first or second NBA sesons at the same time during stretches this year.
"You have to be open, you have to listen to your teammates but you also have to be willing to address somebody if things don't go the right way or your way," Simmons said, "and thats what I am going to do this season."
Though he will likely be in the mix for Rookie of the Year, he seems to be under the radar as players like Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jason Tatum and teammate Markelle Fultz get more love and receive higher individual expectations. This doesn't bother Simmons at all. He couldn't care less.
"I had a whole year to get better," Simmons said. "I am fine with that. I came to the states when I was 15 and no one knew who I was. I feel like I am back at that stage."