The current NBA season might still be on the verge of heating up, but the competition among those included in the list of potential draft picks is definitely intense. The young basketball stars who could be part of the selection are eager to get a chance to play alongside the likes of LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant. Moreover, the opportunity to don the jersey of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs has never lost its appeal to these up and coming stars.
One of the most widely talked about potential top NBA draft pick is Ben Simmons. The LSU Tigers Basketball player has been eyed by a number of teams in the league, with stars like Paul Pierce of the Los Angeles Clippers and D'Angelo Russell of the Kobe Bryant squad hinting at their wish to have him in their respective teams. Meanwhile, the latest NBA team to show a keen interest on the LSU Tigers star is the Golden State Warriors.
Speaking with Fox Sports, Andrew Bogut openly expressed his desire to have Simmons join the Golden State Warriors. While the reigning NBA champs are doing amazing with Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Curry on the lead role, the 31-year-old center from Melbourne believes that his fellow Aussie would be a great addition to their squad.
"Can you call him for us and get him on the team to help us out?" said Bogut in the interview with Fox Sports, referring to Simmons and the latter's impending NBA Draft experience and the Olympics.
Bogut is discussing the possibility of Simmons turning down the opportunity to play for the Aussie Boomers in the 2016 Olympics. According to the Golden State Warriors star, the LSU Tigers player might want to concentrate on his NBA Draft run.
"We'll talk to him. But look, I understand it. When I was going through my draft process, there was no Olympics. It was the Under-21 Championships and they were calling me, trying to get me to play in it. With draft workouts and that, it's tough. It's a lot of pressure going through all that stuff. We wish Benny the best. We know if he has an opportunity to play in the future, we're hoping that he'll play," he added.
In a separate interview with The Times-Picayune, Bogut described the notable traits of Simmons. He said, "I love watching him play. He knows to play the game and think the game, you can see that in his passing. He knows how to make the right play. He's not only athletic, can dunk, get up and down the floor and handle the ball, but he's gotten better and better. Fortunately for him, he's kept growing and growing. With his skill set, he's going to be a pretty tough cover."
Amid the praises from NBA stars, however, Simmons had been served a "penalty" during the crucial game of the LSU Tigers against the Tennessee Volunteers. The young Aussie star, who started 26 games in the season, was benched in the first minutes of the game. He later joined the team in the game that shamed the LSU Tigers with a final score of 65-81.
"This was just one of those attention-getters, or whatever, for him," said Johnny Jones via The Advocate. The LSU Tigers head coach added, "We're hopeful this will help get him focused and concentrating on what he should be doing academically."
Despite his efforts to boost his team's performance, Simmons has been singled out by sports analysts following the blowout loss.
"The 6-9 forward was sluggish all day," said Sam Vicenie of CBS Sports. He continued to note, "His 21-point, nine-rebound night looks good on paper, but his overall performance was thoroughly lacking. He was careless with the ball in turning it over eight times. His defensive performance was mostly inattentive, as he failed to close out on multiple 3-point shooters in rotation and mostly was ineffective in help situations."
After the match, criticisms against Simmons arose with some calling his an "overrated" player. Given the review of his performance, some fans fear that the Aussie star might no longer hold the same high esteem in the eyes of the NBA teams seeking to sign him. However, it remains to be seen if Simmons will rise from the situation and emerge a better player.