Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons is an Oscar-worthy scene stealer

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports)
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports) /

Through the first month of the 2019-20 NBA season, Ben Simmons has quite literally stolen the show as the Philadelphia 76ers’ premier ballhawk.

Joel Embiid is the Philadelphia 76ers‘ star.

In the world of cinema, Embiid would be an unquestioned leading man, a marquee-level star capable of carrying a picture on his shoulders, but you know what they say about any star: they’re only as good as their supporting cast.

Every Robert De Niro needs his Joe Pesci, every Leonardo DiCaprio needs his Brad Pitt.

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So while the Sixers have been playing very well so far this season, even if we’ve only seen glimpses of their ultimate potential, their success can’t be attributed to Embiid alone.

No, while he may not garner nearly as much praise or as many headlines, Ben Simmons has been a regular scene-stealer for the Sixers this year, literally.

You see, so far this season, Simmons is second in the league in steals per game at 2.3, trailing only his former teammate Jimmy Butler. He’s also third overall in total steals at 32, three behind current league leader Kris Dunn.

But hey, there’s more.

So far this season, Simmons has recorded multiple steals in nine games, and are 8-1 over that stretch – with their lone loss coming against the Phoenix Suns on November 14th.

As things presently stand, Simmons is the only player in the league with multiple seven-steal games, a feat that seems improbable in one game, let alone two in a 30 day period.

Now to some, steals are about as exciting as an offensive rebound, but in a game like basketball, where the number of possessions are limited by the 48-minute clock, ‘stealing’ a few more chances to score is an invaluable asset for any team – especially one without a prolific scoring offensive.

Because the 76ers have gone all-in on playing their unique brand of supersized, defensive-minded bully ball, the team is never going to excel in a 141-39 shoot out. No, for the Sixers to win, and win big, they instead need to control the clock, control the pace, and force empty possessions regardless of who they are facing.

Defensive rebounding helps, posting up JoJo helps, but Simmons’ uncanny ability to pick off passes may be the single most exciting way to change a possession without surrendering a shot attempt.

Believe it Sixers fans, while Simmons may not be putting up 30 on the regular, he’s been invaluable to the team’s early-season success.

But really, should we be surprised? I mean Simmons made his All-Star debut last season without possessing a functional 3 point shot for goodness sake, you don’t see that unless a player is absolutely dominant at all of the little things.

Next. Josh Richardson beats the Heat. dark

I get it. Fans want flashy, they want spice. Heck, Kevin O’Connor somehow believes that Brandon Ingram is the better player after a hot start to his debut season with the New Orleans Pelicans, but much like a good character actor, Ben Simmons makes the Philadelphia 76ers better in a supporting role, while allowing his more boisterous counterparts to garner the mainstream acclaim. Can a player who dates Kardashians be a blue-collar, lunch pail player?