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NBA Season 2017-18 Comparison: LeBron James vs Ben Simmons

Achyut Dubey
CONTRIBUTOR
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LeBron refers to Simmons as the
LeBron refers to Simmons as the "Young King".

It is known all across the league that Ben Simmons has found a unique mentor and supporter in The King. In 2015, James had invited Simmons to work out with him and Dwyane Wade at 6:30 a.m during the time when Ben was a camp counsellor in the first Nike Basketball Academy.

“You have an opportunity to be better than me,” LeBron told Simmons then, while Simmons has repeatedly referred to James as his "big brother". And with time, their love for each other has clearly transcended all boundaries.

When Bron headed to LA, Ben Simmons was more disappointed than he expressed: "He did what was right for him and his family, but it would've been great to learn from him and compete for a championship."

But this piece is all about comparing how the past season was for The King and The Young King, and how they match up against each other if the 2017-18 season is all we get to compare.

Though Simmons was the worst mid-range shooter(27.8%) last season, his performance throughout the 81 games he played was enough to get him the "Rookie of the Year" award. On the other hand, LeBron had one of the most unyielding seasons of his career, as he dragged a relatively playoff-inexperienced team all the way to the NBA Finals.

Ben Simmons LeBron James
Ben Simmons LeBron James

At first glance, the above given statistical comparison may seem unfair to some.

LeBron had one of the best seasons of his life trying to cross all the hurdles the Cavaliers came across and still posting such numbers.

What makes this stat-match equitable is the very realisation that Simmons in his rookie season, was not far behind, and in all actuality, ticked every box needed to become a mega-superstar down the line.

Having a two-inch height advantage, Simmons never fell behind LeBron in terms of Steals & Blocks throughout the regular season.

Also, averaging 8.1 rebounds and 8.2 assists is no small feat. The certitude of James' greatness is so deeply ingrained in basketball minds across the world that besting such numbers is considered a routine job. But in reality, it's not.

And that's why Simmons gets some breathing space even though he has been weighed against the greatest player on the planet.

Obviously, he lags behind in terms of scoring abilities in comparison to LeBron, which is reflected in the heavily skewed scoring average comparison of the last season. Also, in head-to-head matchups, Ben averages 15.3 while The Kid from Akron averaged 28.8.

But Ben makes up for all his flaws with his strengths. His ability to space the floor and find the open man is one that can't be reflected in stat-sheets.

His presence on both ends of the floor can never be neglected. Many perceive Ben Simmons' game as having the speed and vision of LeBron James with the length and agility of Kevin Durant.

The only aspect where James REALLY distances himself from the Prince is 3-point shooting, where Bron shot 37% from behind the arc and Ben shot 0%.

The last time Cavs vs Sixers happened, Simmons and Embiid defeated LeBron's men 132-130 on a Friday night, and as expected, the Simmons-James duel was must-see TV.

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Achyut Dubey
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