Ben Simmons is currently having one of the greatest rookie season the NBA has ever seen. The dynamic point forward has the ability to get to the rim at will and is gifted with incredible vision and ability as a passer. With Simmons and LeBron James sharing the same agent and working out together in the offseason, it becomes easy to see the connection and influence that relationship has had on his game.
Via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, Dwyane Wade shared his thoughts on Simmons and the comparisons between he and LeBron:
"No one knew exactly how he was going to perform, we just knew he had talent," Dwyane Wade said following Cavaliers practice Sunday. "He said he felt like he could play better, but if you look at his numbers he's averaging almost 19 a game with nine rebounds and seven assists. That's incredible for a guy who hasn't played basketball in over a year.
"He's definitely figured out what works for him and he's sticking to it. He's not getting into the 3-ball game that everybody's getting into, he's playing his game. He's definitely a matchup problem and a challenge for most teams."
James is going to go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game, if not the best ever. So when someone is compared to him, often we see some backlash at the idea that someone could be on a similar path.
But while it's unlikely that Simmons isn't going to be as good as LeBron, it doesn't mean that we can't appreciate the influence LeBron has had on his game. The way Simmons is able to utilize his physical gifts similar to a younger LeBron is a thrill to watch. NBA history is filled with players pulling from those that came before them and trying to add traits that they admire to their game. Just as you could see Michael Jordan's influence on Kobe Bryant, you can see James' influence on Simmons.
While players with the physical tools of a LeBron or Simmons almost never come around, the growth of the point forward seems to be a big part of the future of the NBA. Something that can easily be traced back and linked to LeBron.