Boom Australian rookie Ben Simmons continued his impressive start to the 2017-18 NBA season, notching a triple-double in Philadelphia's 121-110 over Indiana on Saturday.
The 2016 draft's No.1 pick racked up 14 points, along with 11 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and two blocked shots in 39 minutes on court.
After missing the entirety of what would have been his rookie year with a foot injury, he has taken to the NBA like a duck to water in 2017, reaching double-figures for points in all nine of Philadelphia's games so far.
It was the second triple-double of his burgeoning career, the first coming a fortnight ago in a win over the Detroit Pistons - a stat made all the more impressive when you consider that it took Michael Jordan 58 games to reach two triple-doubles in his career, and LeBron James 118.
Much has been made of Philadelphia's controversial tanking policy, which saw them finish last or second last in the conference in each of the past four seasons - but a slew of high draft picks accrued in that time, including Simmons, is starting to pay dividends, with the team sitting firmly inside the play-off spots at this early part of the season, with today's win continuing what is now a four game winning streak, giving Brett Brown's team a solid 5-4 record.
Career games needed to achieve two triple doubles:
Ben Simmons: 9
Michael Jordan: 58
Jason Kidd: 69
LeBron James: 118??? Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) November 4, 2017
Simmons had the most rebounds and assists for either team, with teammate JJ Redick and Pacers' point guard Victor Oladipo top-scoring, both with 31 points.
The 76ers will have a few days off before travelling to the West Coast for a road trip that will see them play five away games in the space of nine nights; against the Utah Jazz, Sacramento Kings, NBA champions the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.
"We are here to play good basketball," said Sixers coach Brett Brown before the game, downplaying having a winning record. "We love playing at home. Our goal is to make the playoffs. When you look at some of those teams, that we are going to get through to get there, this could be one of them.
"Right now, they are playing like they might be in a higher echelon. Those things come up, not so much trying to eclipse a .500 mark. I see the world with a far sort of broader lens right now."
Redick drained a three to give the Sixers a 113-110 lead with two minutes left. Then he added another as the shot clock expired to put his team up six with 1:07 to play. And the free-agent acquisition drilled another with 46.3 seconds to make it a 119-110 game.
Meanwhile, Simmons, once again, showed why he's the overwhelming favourite to win rookie of the year. And people are taking notice.
In a recent interview, former NBA great Kobe Bryant called Simmons "phenomenal".
"From Kobe, that's awesome to hear from one of the greatest that's ever played," Simmons said. "I have a long way to go. That means a lot. I have a long way to go. So I'm staying in the gym."
However, players and media types have been raving over since the season has started. He's being compared to LeBron James and Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson.
"I think it's amazing," he said. "I got a lot more when I was playing at LSU, just because I was playing. I wasn't out for a year. So it's kind of slowly coming back to where it was. But it's amazing."
with The Philadelphia Inquirer