LSU combo forward Ben Simmons made a “major statement” Monday, Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress said to Josh Newman of SNY.tv after Simmons had 21 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists in LSU’s loss to Marquette. Simmons is reminiscent of Lamar Odom, as Odom’s name came up in Newman’s story as well as the ones that Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote after the game.
“I think he showed a lot of the same things that we know,” Givony said to Newman. “He’s an elite passer, he’s a tremendous ball-handler, he’s phenomenal in transition, he’s incredibly versatile for his size. He’s a great rebounder.”
Givony has Simmons ranked No. 2 behind Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere, pointing to Simmons’ defense and his failure to attempt a single 3-pointer yet this season, as Newman relays. While we wait to see how Simmons develops over the season, here’s news from around the NBA:
- The Warriors are leading the small-ball revolution these days, thanks in large measure to the unique capabilities of $82MM signee Draymond Green, who has the skills of a perimeter player and the wingspan of a center, as Zach Lowe of ESPN.com examines. The team’s brass admits it didn’t know what it had in Green until Steve Kerr put him in the starting lineup last season in David Lee‘s stead, Lowe notes. GM Bob Myers admits trepidation as late as Game 4 of the NBA Finals last season when Kerr replaced Andrew Bogut with Andre Iguodala and the Cavs sprinted to an early lead before the Warriors caught up and Iguodala won the Finals MVP award.
- Golden State is prompting front offices to re-evaluate the relative value of big men and wing players, but while Pacers coach Frank Vogel told Lowe he isn’t about to line up Paul George at center, he said the change in philosophy that’s prompted him to give George time at the four predates Golden State’s rise. “It wasn’t even about the Warriors,” Vogel said to Lowe. “It was about not being able to overcome LeBron [James] and Miami three straight years. We couldn’t even throw the ball inside. We had a lot of turnovers just trying to do that.”
- The Kings recalled Duje Dukan from the D-League on Monday, according to the RealGM transactions log, though neither Sacramento nor its affiliate made a public announcement. The undrafted combo forward from Wisconsin scored 14 points in 34 minutes in his one appearance with the Reno Bighorns.