Basketball | Surreal NBA debut pleases big Ben Simmons

FORMER Newcastle Hunters junior Ben Simmons says his first NBA regular season game for the Philadelphia 76ers was like playing a video game.

The 21-year-old justified the hype of being the 2016 No.1 draft pick and potentially Australia's first NBA superstar with an 18 point, 10 rebound effort full of sweet moves to the basket, power dunks and laser passes.

DEBUT: Ben Simmons

DEBUT: Ben Simmons

It was not enough to prevent the Wizards from winning 120-115 in Washington DC on Wednesday.

"Really, really exceptional," 76ers coach Brett Brown said of Simmons.

Wizards' All-Star John Wall paid Simmons the ultimate tribute by comparing him to Cleveland Cavaliers' star LeBron James.

"Ben Simmons is like a LeBron getting the ball off the rim and pushing it to find his teammates," Wall said.

Simmons said after the game he glanced at teammate Joel Embiid while they were on the court and he had a flashback to the popular video game NBA2K.

"It felt like I was playing 2K, honestly," Simmons said.

"Just looking at Embiid out there with the lights on his jersey. I was like: 'Man, I'm actually here'."

Simmons, who sat out last season with a broken foot, produced five assists, two steals, one block and just one turnover in 34 minutes.

He also showed his versatility playing point guard, forward and centre during the game.

The 76ers led 59-56 at halftime and trailed by just three points in the final minute, but the Wizards' elite guards Wall, with 28 points, and Bradley Beal, 25 points, guided the home team to victory.

Forward Robert Covington led the 76ers with 29 points, Embiid showed his potential with 18 points and 13 rebounds and rookie guard Markelle Fultz had 10 points.

The 76ers, the worst team in the NBA the past four years with a deplorable 75-253 record, are hoping to finally turn their fortunes around this season.

"It's fun," Simmons said.

"I'm enjoying it."


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