Shaq, a proud LSU alum, may in part be partial to the 76ers No. 1 overall draft pick because they graduated from the same college. But O’Neal told CSN Philly all the reasons why he thinks former LSU standout Simmons may become an elite player like Shaq’s former Cavalier teammate James.
Shaquille O’Neal believes that Ben Simmons has what it takes to become a superstar in the NBA. Simmons hasn’t played a NBA regular season game yet, but The Diesel—who was officially inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday—is already comparing Simmons to Future Hall of Famer LeBron James.
Simmons played only his freshman year before declaring for the 2016 NBA draft. The 20-year-old forward boasted 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game last season for LSU, yet received much criticism from the media for failing to take over games in the clutch and lacking the maturity to lead his team to crucial wins. In addition, LSU missed a berth to last season’s NCAA Tournament. Yet that apparently doesn’t matter to Shaq too much.
Shaq is speaking like a Sixers fan who “trusts the process,” and who believes that Simmons may be one of the best players in the NBA for years to come.
“I know my guy’s going to be pretty good, Ben Simmons,” O’Neal said. “He’s a LeBron-type player. What I mean by that, LeBron does a nice job of making everybody else around him better—passing the ball, doing the small things—and Ben is that type of player.”