Philadelphia 76ers: The Complex Mentality Of Ben Simmons

Jul 10, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons (25) dribbles the ball during an NBA Summer League game against the Chicago Bulls at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons (25) dribbles the ball during an NBA Summer League game against the Chicago Bulls at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Philadelphia 76ers’ rookie Ben Simmons comes into this season with a lot on his plate, but with what mentality will he approach his newfound responsibilities?

The Philadelphia 76ers drafted their star of the future in Ben Simmons this past June. By that time it seemed like every media member, organization, and fan knew everything about Simmons and his game. Every aspect of his game and his mentality went under the microscope and it created either new criticisms or huge praises.

By now, the Philadelphia 76ers have been able to figure what they’ve got from Simmons on and off the court. He’s their point forward of the future and main facilitator of the offense. He’s the expected cornerstone of this franchise that has been flopping the past three seasons just to get in position to draft a player of his magnitude.

The “easy” part of getting drafted first overall is now over for Simmons, and expectations for him are through the roof. Drawing comparisons ranging from Lamar Odom, to Magic Johnson, and even LeBron James from the general media is putting even more pressure on Simmons to become the next Philadelphia 76ers star. 

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Not only will he be compared to All-Stars and former greats, but he also has the responsibility of leading a young core that’s been in the midst of a rebuild. The future is now for the Philadelphia 76ers and they will go as far as Simmons takes them. The mentality for Simmons will be important for his success, so let’s delve into his on-court and off-court mentality. What we know of him and what his mentality has to be.

On-Court Mentality


The most attractive aspect of Simmons’ game is he’s comfortable leading an offense at such a young age. It was shown at LSU, it was shown even more in Summer League. Controlling an NBA offense at a young age is difficult, but Simmons seems to embrace the challenge. The Philadelphia 76ers have found themselves a young leader willing to lead a team to the promised land.

There’s no change needed in this mentality. It’s rare to find such a willing leader right from the start of his career. It is LeBron-esque. It does exude stardom. Now, the wait is on to see whether Simmons can take the role and perform well enough to take brighten the future of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Passive Scorer

The best part of Simmons’ game is his uncanny passing ability at 6’10”. That won’t change going into his rookie season, and it shouldn’t. It is odd to watch Simmons at times. He seems so aggressive getting to the rim, but when he often passes up on a shot to give it up to a teammate. This works sometimes and fails others, but the point is Simmons needs to start shooting his shots.

The hesitation on jump shooting will also have to be relieved, but with training and increased confidence in himself, that will come down the road. Simmons will have to become more aggressive as a scorer. Maybe that will come as he watches teammates start to miss opportunities he gave them, but something needs to spark a change.

Shaky Effort On Defense

Being a great defender is a combination of having the physical tools and high-motor effort. Simmons has the quickness and the size to defend small forwards and smaller power forwards. His shaky effort has hurt him in the college game, and it will continue to limit his “star power”.

We see it with James Harden. Harden has shown he could be a decent defender with high effort in the 2014-15 season. He also showed he could be laughable with little to no effort on the defensive side this past season. Still, Harden managed to place himself amongst the cream of the crop in the league. But that’s mostly due to the fact that he’s one of the most dynamic players on offense.

Simmons will need to focus on defensive effort to propel him to stardom and to further better the future of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Off-Court Mentality


Self-confidence for Ben Simmons has often been misconstrued as cockiness. Simmons has the potential to be great. He knows that. He hangs around the stars. He FaceTimes LeBron James for advice. He knows that he can eventually get to that point. Sometimes that comes off as cockiness but that’s ok.

He plays for the Philadelphia 76ers. He plays in a city full of passionate, sometimes unfair fans. The former stars that have gone through the city have all had a swagger to them, and Simmons is filling the mold. Being a star in Philly is different than being a star anywhere else. Fans want that swagger and they’ll get it with Ben Simmons.

Inclusive Teammate

Ben Simmons is very adept in using social media. He uses it not only to promote himself, but also uses it to interact with teammates. Simmons and Joel Embiid have been conversing on Twitter with humor and motivation, and it’s good to see such a perceived star get along so well with a current player. Simmons also took to social media to promote his home country Australia all throughout the Rio Olympics.

Simmons is a fighter on the court but a light-hearted social media user, which is refreshing.

Next: 2016-17 Season Expectations

The mentality of Ben Simmons isn’t perfect, but for now it suits what this Philadelphia 76ers team needs. A star and a leader, Simmons can move this franchise forward on the court while mitigating any off-court issues. The on-court aggression will have to come for Simmons to reach stardom, but as he grows so will his game.