Ben Simmons is the first rookie in 25-years to compile these numbers

BEN Simmons went head to head against fellow Aussie Joe Ingles when his Philadelphia 76ers strolled into Salt Lake City and took down the Utah Jazz 104-97.

The 2016 NBA Draft No. 1 pick and early Rookie of the Year frontrunner, led his teammates with another double-double in his first game without Joel Embiid being alongside.

Simmons ended the game with 16 points, 13 rebounds and six assists while also adding in three steals and three blocks.

The ultra impressive display on the defensive end of the floor turned heads more than any offensive impact he had on the game.

While the individual numbers from Simmons are mesmerising, it’s the fact that the 76ers are now rattling off successive wins that’s the biggest take away.

Despite Simmons labelling his efforts as “the worst game he’s played”, the 76ers kicked off their five game road trip in winning fashion and if that display is the worst Simmons can play, the bar is set remarkably high.

Through his opening 10 games he has now become the first rookie with at least 175 points and 100 rebounds since Shaquille O’Neal did so with the Orlando Magic in the 1992/93 season.

Comparing him to LeBron James and his efforts through the opening 10 games of his career, Simmons holds the upper hand in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and has a better field goal percentage.

Although we’re only 10 games into the 2017/18 season, the distance Simmons has put between himself and the remaining rookies in the league is glaring, making it almost safe for the engraver to begin putting his name on the award.

Currently leading all rookies in points scored with 178 (21 more than second best Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics), total rebounds with 101 (17 more than second best John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks) and total assists with 80 (11 more than second best Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers).

Having recorded at least 10 points, five rebounds and five assists through his opening ten games, Simmons joins only Oscar Robertson as the players to have achieved such a feat.

His season averages now sit at 17.8 points per game, 10.1 rebounds per game and eight assists per game.

Philadelphia have now rattled off five straight wins and find themselves in a four-way tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with the Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks.

Behind only the Detroit Pistons and conference leading Boston Celtics.

Adding to an already growing list of games with a double-double, Simmons’ now has seven on the season through his first 10 games, twice as many as the next best player.

DELLAVEDOVA IN $38 MILLION LIMBO

Delly still has another two full seasons to run on his contract.

Delly still has another two full seasons to run on his contract.Source:AP

Downward pressure on Matthew Dellavedova for NBA minutes is set to exacerbate with Milwaukee’s signing of star Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe.

The Australian has averaged four fewer minutes across the opening nine games of the season than 2016-17 and is also down on points and assists, with rising talent Malcolm Brogdon preferred at point guard by the Bucks.

While Dellavedova won the NBA championship with Cleveland last year, he will now also need to fend off Bledsoe for court time.

Dellavedova only last year signed a rich four-year $38 million deal with the Bucks after Cleveland’s shock NBA Finals triumph.

The Bucks could look to trade Dellavedova in a bid to cut his salary from their books, rather than carry a third-string point guard on big money.

The Australian could also choose to request to be released by the Bucks to find a team prepared to give him more minutes on the court.

Bledsoe, also 27, was an on-court leader for the Suns and averaged more than 20 points and six assists per game in each of their past two seasons.

“Eric is a dynamic player who brings scoring and toughness to the court while enhancing our young and talented core,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said.

Bledsoe was sacked after he posted “I Don’t wanna be here” on Twitter last month.

In exchange, Milwaukee traded two 2018 draft picks and big man Greg Monroe to the Suns in a possible boost for the Bucks’ fast-improving Australian centre Thon Maker.

Twenty seven-year-old Monroe has been sidelined recently with a left calf strain.

Over three seasons with the Bucks, he averaged 13.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 165 games.

Delly gonna Delly.

Adding Bledsoe will take some of the focus off Antetokounmpo, the Bucks’ primary ball-handler. Milwaukee had lost four of its last five games before visiting the Cavaliers, but adding Bledsoe’s scoring ability alongside Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton on a team that also includes rising guard Malcolm Brogdon could help.

“We’re excited. Eric’s excited,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said in Cleveland. Bledsoe will take his physical on Wednesday and is expected to join the Bucks in San Antonio in time for Thursday’s game against the Spurs.

Middleton can’t wait to see what Bledsoe brings.

“He’ll be another great player for us, a guy who can create for others and create for himself on offence,” Middleton said. “I’m excited to play with him. We can do a lot of things. We’ll have more ball-handlers on the court at the same time. He’s going to be a great for us.” Already a dangerous and up-and-coming team, the Bucks could go to another level with Bledsoe.

“He adds a veteran point guard, a guy who plays with pace and can get into the paint, can make the right play,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “He’s been on the cusp of being an All-Star the last three years. He brings a different dimension to their team. He can shoot the basketball, get in the paint, run pick-and-roll and he’s a good defender also.

“It’s a good pickup for them.” Bledsoe averaged more than 20 points and six assists per game in each of the last two seasons with the Suns, including career highs in points (21.1) and assists (6.3) last season. Bledsoe spent the past five seasons in Phoenix after his first three years with the Clippers.

LONZO BALL BROTHER FACING JAIL IN CHINA

LaVar and Lonzo on Draft night.

Three UCLA basketball were arrested in China for shoplifting, according to an ESPN.com report.

Among the three players was LiAngelo Ball — the middle son of LaVar Ball and the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rising star Lonzo Ball — whose career at UCLA was expected to start this week.

The New York Post reports the Bruins team had been over in China since the weekend in advance of its season-opening game in Shanghai against Georgia Tech. Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, also freshmen, were the other two players arrested.

ESPN reported that 20 policemen came to the hotel and questioned players from both UCLA and Georgia Tech. The players from Georgia Tech were cleared in the incident.

“They weren’t messing around,” a source told the website.

“The kids were scared.”

The players are currently not with the team and are being questioned about stealing from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel.

“We are aware of the matter involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China and we are gathering more information,” the team said in a statement. “The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”

LiAngelo’s older brother, Lonzo, starred for the Bruins last season and was taken No. 2 overall by the Lakers in the draft.

Yahoo sports reports the three students face between three and 10 years jail if convicted.

LEBRON TOPPLES MINI-LEBRON

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo can’t do it on his own.

GIANNIS Antetokounmpo exploded for 40 points but it was not enough to thwart the combined might of LeBron James and Kevin Love as the Cleveland Cavaliers downed the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

Antetokounmpo’s superb display, which also included nine rebounds and three assists, threatened to overwhelm the Cavs as they aimed to bounce back from Sunday’s abject loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

But 30 points from James and 32 points from Love helped the Cavs hang on for a 124-119 victory at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.

A high-scoring contest saw three over Cleveland players make double figures, with J.R. Smith posting 20 points and Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade grabbing 10 apiece.

Antetokounmpo meanwhile was backed by 22 points from Malcolm Brogdon and 20 from Khris Middleton.

Cleveland had seized the early initiative, jumping out to a 39-28 lead after the first quarter before the Bucks came roaring back to edge into a 67-65 lead at the half.

Cleveland muscled their way back into the game in the third quarter however to take a four-point lead at 94-90 heading into the final quarter.

The Cavs, desperate for a win after a sluggish start to the season that has seen them plunge to the bottom half of the Eastern Conference table, held on to claim a morale-boosting victory which improved them to 5-6.

Source: News

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