Brown hails 'exceptional' Simmons after 76ers debut
Philadelphia 76ers fans and the basketball community finally got to see Ben Simmons in the NBA and they liked what they saw, especially head coach Brett Brown.
Simmons marked his long-awaited debut with a double-double in Wednesday's 120-115 loss at the Washington Wizards.
The 21-year-old Australian was taken with the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft but his rookie campaign was put on hold due to a fractured fifth metatarsal which forced him to miss the entire season.
However, Simmons showed why he is so highly rated with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in Philadelphia's season opener.
"I feel that his first game was really exceptional. Really, really exceptional," Brown told reporters.
"Physically, we all see what he is as an athlete, and I think that his growth path, his improvement scale, I think it can be off the charts."
Simmons, whose Sixers were led by Rob Covington's game-high 29 points, added: "I think I handled it well, played well, overall.
"Still gotta work on a lot of things, but as a team we're getting there. It's exciting to see that.
"Didn't get the win, obviously, but I just know this team can be special and I'm looking forward to seeing how far we can get."