Sixers coach Brown likens Simmons to LeBron and Magic Johnson


Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown compared top NBA prospect Ben Simmons to Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, though his team are still deciding how they will use the number one draft pick.

The 76ers have the top pick at their disposal for the first time in 20 years and Simmons' name is expected to be called out first at the NBA Draft in Brooklyn on June 23.

Brown, however, is refusing to give much away despite Simmons, 19, looming large.

The 55-year-old, though, did heap praise on the versatile Australian LSU star.

"He's got a hint of Magic. At times you can see like, a younger LeBron, where you're not sure what position he is," Brown told Fox Sports.

"At one moment you think he's a four, maybe he's a three, he looks comfortable handling the ball. When you say what is your 'identifiable NBA elite skill' most people will immediately go to passing.

"When you take that collection of comments and you add it into a 6'10' frame, the comparisons to those two players you know, could be a little bit reckless, could be a little bit ambitious.

"But there's no denying that he comes to the draft with a very unique skill package."

Addressing concerns regarding Simmons and his shooting, Brown - who worked with the youngster's father Dave in Australia during the 1990s - added: "When you look at his form, no differently when we drafted Kawhi Leonard with the Spurs, one of the assessments we had to make was, is his shot transferable to the NBA? Is it a total rebuild or is it a little bit of a makeover?

"And I think that his form isn't one where you just have to blow it up and start over, I think it translates. Like LeBron, we saw over the ages, we saw his shot grow. The statistics people, the analytics people, all these point to it is one of the skills that is most easily fixed over time.

"And so, no [his shooting doesn't concern me], is the long answer. I think we can avoid that and help him if he ends up being a Philadelphia 76er."