Ben Simmons will almost certainly be one of the first two players taken in June’s NBA Draft, though at least one former executive sees some issues.
Rex Chapman, who spent time in the NBA as a player and an executive, had some interesting comments regarding Simmons’ maturity.
”He’s a great talent, great passer and knows the game,” Chapman said, via John Reid of Nola.com. ”But I think if you ask people around LSU, around the league; he’s got some immaturity issues, and I think that’s what frightens teams a little bit.”
”I think more so off the court. I think his game is a little more mature than his age for sure, but I think there are questions about his ability to be a really good teammate.”
Chapman speaks from experience on multiple fronts. He spent a decade-plus in the NBA as a player and served in front office positions with three different teams after his playing career.
Off the court, Chapman was arrested for stealing $14,000 worth of merchandise from an Apple store in Arizona and later entered a substance abuse program.
As it relates to Simmons, the teammate issue definitely needs to be addressed. The fact that Simmons couldn’t even lead his LSU team to a spot in the NCAA Tournament is definitely a notch against him. With that said, his talent is undeniable.
Simmons is 6-foot-10, and as Chapman said, a phenomenal passer. That’s the kind of size and skill blend that players like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had. Yes, Simmons has a long way to go to get to that level, but at least the skills are there.
There’s no reason to doubt Chapman’s take on Simmons’ maturity, but how big of a deal is that? Simmons is not even 20 years old yet. Immaturity is pretty common at that age.
Simmons certainly has room to grow on and off the court. It would be helpful to him to get to a point where his skills as a teammate are not questioned. On the court, he has to develop a better jump shot and shoot free throws better. Still, that can all be worked on.
The immaturity issues may well frighten some teams. But the teams at the top of the top of the draft should be more frightened about passing on the draft’s best player only to have him come back and burn them for a decade.