LSU freshman Ben Simmons will hire an agent and enter the NBA draft, he told ESPN Insider Jeff Goodman. “I’m making it official,” Simmons told Goodman.
Simmons’ decision was a mere formality, as it was widely assumed he’d be a one-and-done prospect when he signed with the Tigers, who finished 19-14 and were not chosen for the NCAA Tournament.
The 6’10” Australia native averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game and has been at the top of most draft lists throughout the season, though he’s now vying for that honor with Duke freshman swingman Brandon Ingram.
Simmons has been compared to LeBron James and Magic Johnson because of his versatility and ballhandling skills, according to ESPN Insider Chad Ford, who still has Simmons atop his Big Board rankings. Simmons’ size, athleticism and passing ability will allow him to play multiple positions, anywhere from an oversized point guard to power forward. He prefers to play point forward, Ford adds, though there are questions about his motor.
Simmons’ best traits in the half-court revolve around his tremendous ballhandling and passing ability because of his court vision, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress notes in his in-depth analysis, though he hasn’t shown much range with his jump shot. Givony currently has Simmons ranked No. 2 behind Ingram.
Simmons plans to sign with Klutch Sports and agent Rich Paul, league sources recently told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. Paul is also James’ agent.