It’s tough to imagine that there will ever be another player as skilled and smooth as Magic Johnson. Even though their play styles may be different and it’s crazy to think a rookie is as good as a Hall of Famer, Ben Simmons is already statistically nipping at his heels.
Simmons, who is the “stone cold” 2018 Rookie of the Year according to Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown, has broken numerous rookie records and is doing things no other rookie has done since Johnson in 1979-80.
With 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in Game 4 of the Sixers’ first-round playoffs series against Miami, Simmons became the first rookie (and third youngest) since Johnson in 1980 to record a postseason triple-double. Also, in Simmons’ playoffs debut, his 14 assists were the second most in NBA history by a player in his debut trailing Johnson who had 16 assists in his first postseason game in 1980.
Ben Simmons (17 PTS, 13 REB, 10 AST) fuels the @sixers in Game 4 and becomes the 1st rookie since Magic Johnson (1980) to record an #NBAPlayoffs triple-double! #PhilaUnite #NBARooks pic.twitter.com/PSCk4GQYIL
— NBA (@NBA) April 21, 2018
The records continue. Simmons also passed Magic Johnson for the second-most triple-doubles ever in a rookie season. Johnson had seven, while Simmons finished with 13. He trails only Oscar Robertson in the record book with 26 triple-doubles in 1960-61.
Simmons and Johnson’s rookie per game statistics were not far off, either:
1979-80 – Magic Johnson – 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 2.4 steals, 4.0 TO, 53.0% FG.
2017-18 – Ben Simmons – 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 3.4 TO, 54.5% FG.
Ben Simmons and Magic Johnson are both tall players who can play numerous positions, and their court vision and handles go hand-in-hand. To see the Hall of Fame career Magic Johnson carved out after his first season in the league makes the NBA world salivate over Ben Simmons’ future.
Ben Simmons is doing stuff we haven't seen since Magic Johnson and Donovan Mitchell is doing stuff we haven't seen since Michael Jordan. We are in good hands.
— Moke Hamilton (@MokeHamilton) April 20, 2018
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