While Ben Simmons is a unique talent, comparing the top pick to NBA greats is enticing for Sixers fans and inevitable for anyone who has watched him play.
For Denzel Valentine, the 14th overall pick in the draft by the Chicago Bulls, one name came to mind after playing against Simmons in Sunday's Samsung NBA Summer League game, which the Bulls won, 83-70 (see game story).
"He's like a mini-LeBron," Valentine said, via ESPN. "LeBron's probably top 10, so if he's a mini-LeBron, that's saying a lot."
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It's high praise from Valentine, and actually not the most ridiculous comparison. Like LeBron, Simmons enters the NBA as a teenager with extraordinary physical gifts, incredible passing ability, plenty of hype and a suspect jumper. Simmons also speaks frequently with LeBron, and shares his agent, Rich Paul.
Still, Valentine's "mini" caveat is key. Despite the muscle Simmons has recently added, he doesn't come close to inspiring the same fear LeBron does when barreling down the court.
If Simmons lives up to the impossibly high expectations, maybe one day people will refer to a prospect as a "mini-Simmons."