News

Is Simmons about to bounce Melbourne into the NBA history books?

Melbourne’s own Ben Simmons has worldwide attention as the expected number one pick in this morning's NBA Draft. The teenage sensation has been widely regarded as the best basketballer in his class of 2015, after an outstanding college campaign with NCAA Division I school Louisiana State University where he earned national praise for his size, skill and natural ability. If Simmons goes number one as expected, he will become the third player born in Melbourne to take out the top honour, following in the footsteps of Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks, 2005) and Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers, 2011). This will become a major milestone for Australia, as Melbourne could boast three number one NBA Draft picks – more than the entire state of California with the highest population in the US (one) and the second highest, Texas (two). The only cities in the world that will boast more number one Draft Picks in the NBA's 69-year history, will be Chicago (five) and New York (four) – and Melbourne will fall equal to Washington with three.

CITY

PICKS

PLAYERS

Chicago

5

Russell 1966, Martin 1972, Aguirre 1981, Rose 2008, Davis 2012

New York

4

Felix 1953, Green 1956, Heyman 1963, Abdul-Jabbar 1969

Washington

3

Baylor 1958, Hetzel 1965, Carr 1971

The 19-year old from Melbourne will be a long way from home on Thursday night at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, where he will likely be selected by either the Philadelphia 76ers or LA Lakers, that have first and second pick respectively. In attendance, will be Simmons’ high school basketball coach Kevin Goorjian and his father, Melbourne Tigers legend David11 Simmons. Dave Simmons originally came to Australia to play for the Tigers, spending seven seasons in Melbourne, with stints at the Sydney Kings, Newcastle Falcons and Canberra Cannons. Melbourne have retired his playing number 25 – and his jersey still hangs in the rafters for all United home games at Hisense Arena today. 22Despite the hype surrounding basketball’s next big thing, it is also because of Dave that Ben is the 76ers’ most likely choice, as current head coach Brett Brown also coached Dave at the Tigers.   The 2016 NBA Draft will begin at 9am AEST, live on ESPN. Check local listings.
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