Ben Simmons wants to learn from Magic Johnson

Dave Uram
February 11, 2019 - 8:21 am
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The Sixers blew out the Lakers 143-120 at Wells Fargo Center Sunday afternoon for their 36th win of the season. It was another sign this revamped team is on its way to seriously competing for the Eastern Conference. It even included Ben Simmons attempting a healthy three-pointer early in the second half, which seems to be one of the top storylines to come from this victory.

But, just as interesting as Simmons’ three-point attempt, was as the game was something Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson said pregame to reporters.

Johnson was asked if he enjoys watching Ben Simmons. His response, courtesy of The Athletic’s Bill Oram, was certainly ear opening.

“(Ben) reached out to me,” Johnson said. “Not to me directly, to the Lakers to find out if we could get together this summer. I said, hey, you got to clear it with the league and if everybody, the Sixers sign off, we sign off and the league sign off, there’s not nothing going on, but he wants to know how to play the position as a big guard, da-da-da da-da-da, it’s fine. I will do that, but if everybody doesn’t sign off then we can’t get together.”

Johnson would go on to say how much he loves Simmons' game, vision and basketball IQ.

After the win, Simmons was asked about Johnson’s comments.

“Trying to learn from somebody like that would be huge,” Simmons said courtesy of Ben Mallis of The Pick and Roll. “Getting to speak to him, you know, he’s been in multiple situations where he had to play ‘the five’, won a championship, and he’s a Hall of Famer, and one of those that in terms of what position I’m in, (6-foot-10) point guard, I think he can help.”

When followed up about whether he intends to ask the Sixers if he can, Simmons said he’s not focused on his team right now, and not that, adding maybe he’ll ask another time.

Because Simmons and Johnson are very comparable in terms of their style, it would be great for Simmons to pick Johnson’s mind, but risky as well.

Johnson is a top executive of another NBA team, who could easily lure Simmons to Los Angeles when he’s eligible for free agency down the line. While Johnson was clear all parties (Sixers, Lakers and the NBA) would need to sign off on this potential get together, it’s still Simmons taking pointers from Johnson, which would essentially give him a glimpse of what it would be like to work with him.

It’s kind of a sticky situation for the 76ers because potentially denying Simmons the opportunity to learn from one of the best of all time could upset Simmons. But, would the Sixers really want Simmons spending decent instructional time with the President of an opponent? Maybe I’m wrong, but one would think not.

It’s an interesting situation with more to hash out as time goes on.