There’s little denying that Ben Simmons is one of the most versatile players in the NBA and the Philadelphia 76ers look to be putting that concept to the test down in Orlando.
The 6-foot-10, 23-year-old has the build of a power forward but the handles, vision and slashing ability of a point guard — hence why he’s spent his three-year NBA career at that position.
Now it seems that head coach Brett Brown and the Sixers are experimenting with switching Simmons to that power forward spot during team workouts since arriving in the Orlando bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.
It’s a move that doesn’t seem to concern Simmons.
“I’m a basketball player at the end of the day. You know me, you put me on the floor, I’ll make anything happen, whether it’s plays, buckets, stops,” Simmons told reporters over Zoom on Tuesday. “I’ll guard anybody 1-through-5, I’ll run the floor, I can get to the rim, I can score the ball and I make plays happen.”
“So wherever you put me — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 — it’s going to happen. I don’t really look at it as a title or position. That’s mainly for you guys to put down in your articles.”
While Simmons has been practicing at the 4, second-year man Shake Milton has taken over point-guard duties to shake things up ahead of the league’s restart later this month.
Milton was coming on strong before play was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, averaging 19.4 points and 4.1 assists over his last seven games.
“He plays really well. He can shoot the ball, he has a high IQ, he can get to the rim, he can finish. He’s just somebody you can play with, and you can say something to him and he’ll put it into play and try it out,” Simmons said of Milton. “And that’s what you need in somebody like Shake or players like that. He’s developing still and he’s come a long way since the first day I’ve seen him play. He’s only getting better.”
In the eight games that Simmons and Milton started together between Jan. 25 and Feb. 9, the Sixers went 4-4.