Rookie of the Year candidate Ben Simmons received high praise from a former Sixers player this week, a player widely considered as one of the greatest to ever play in a Sixers uniform: Julius Erving.
Erving, an 11-time NBA All-Star who played over a decade in Philadelphia — and brought the city an NBA championship — says he’s impressed with Ben Simmons, calling him a “once in a decade player”.
“Once-in-a-decade, maybe once-in-a-lifetime-type player,” Erving said on Simmons, according to ESPN. “He’s able to make everybody better immediately each and every time down the floor; guys are spotting up or looking to cut or keying off of triggers that come out of his handling skills.”
Simmons, 21, has averaged a ridiculous 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.1 assists in his first NBA season. His scoring mark of nearly 16 points per game exists without a single made three-pointer this season, leaving a great deal of potential improvement for the borderline All-Star.
“Sometimes it looks like he’s got eyes in the back of his head,” Erving said, “because he sees and feels one of his guys making a run to the hoop or spotting up at certain positions. That’s just a gifted player that we are very fortunate to have on our team.”
Simmons was ecstatic to hear of Erving’s praise, stating Erving was one of the few legends who helped build up the Sixers franchise to begin with.
“He pretty much built this team up, the name of the Sixers based on the way he played,” Simmons said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s amazing [to hear Erving praised him]. Amazing to hear that.”