The NBA is a league about size. Height is an incredibly vital aspect to have, with bigger players tending to have more options on both offense and defense, as is wingspan. For guards, such traits are even more important.
Throughout the below paragraphs I will take an in-depth look at Ben Simmons’ height and wingspan to shed better light on how his career has developed so far. He’s a great scorer and floor general, two characteristics he owes to his extremely large frame.
Large, for a Guard
As one would imagine, height and wingspan are two statistics that go hand-in-hand. The taller a player is, the longer their reach. However, what makes a player truly special is when they aren’t super tall (compared to the NBA) but still have long arms. A four or five inch discrepancy is key.
Simmons measures an incredible 6’11 in height, and his wingspan reaches 7’0 feet.
That’s not a big difference, especially when compared to smaller guards whose arms can be three or four inches longer than their height.
However, Simmons is a strange case because it doesn’t really matter how long his arms are in relation to his height. All that matters is that they’re extremely long.
For smaller point guards, an extended reach matters quite a bit. Someone who’s 6’3 and has a 6’6 (or longer) wingspan is able to hit more creative shots or dribble moves than their competition. It also enables them to jump up and shoot directly over defenders.
However, as Simmons is nearly eight inches taller and almost 50 pounds heavier than the average player at his position, he doesn’t need to rely on longer arms. He can simply use his body and natural frame to succeed.
The Power of Height
Simmons is a statistical outlier for many reasons. First and foremost, is his height. Currently, the average point guard in the NBA stands around 6’2. Simmons absolutely towers over that number, allowing him to power through or go over his defenders with ease.
In fact, being so large (and so quick) enables the shifty point to completely lock down opposing players on the defensive side as well. Size is not something you can teach, and it’s a trait that Simmons has over just about every other guard in the league.
Those extra inches matter a lot on the wing or outside the key. While he’s not a pure shooter by any means, he can still push his way to the hoop or back people down. He’s great at bodying up both guards and small forwards too.
Using His Arms
Another reason Simmons can play at the level he does is due to his longer arms. Being 6’11 is extremely useful, but having a solid reach is even more important. That’s because being able to dribble, pass, shoot, or defend with long arms is a huge advantage in the NBA.
Any player benefits from being bigger than their competition. However, guards get even more from their size than big men. As such, Simmons gets more reach on both sides of the ball. He can dribble around people and move through the lane, while also blocking or contesting shots.
Long arms are also useful when it comes to simply finding space on the court. Having a good amount of arm length provides Simmons with the ability to push people back as needed, and create his own space while trying to find a good shooting spot.
An Alternative Style
Simmons is one of the largest point guards to ever play the game, which is a noticeable advantage. Not only is his frame great from an athletic standpoint, it also allows him to play unlike any other point guard in today’s NBA.
The 6’11 guard is a non-shooting point guard in a shooting world. For most players, not being able to stretch the court effectively would be a death sentence. However, as Simmons is so big and makes such good use of his size, he’s still a scoring and passing threat.
His height allows him to go over or through people, while his arms help keep people at bay. They also make him an excellent passer (averaging 8 assists a game) because he can see the court and palm the ball extremely easily.
Height and wingspan are two of the most important aspects when evaluating a player’s athleticism. Simmons may not have an extremely long reach when compared to his height, but he’s so large for a point guard that it truly doesn’t matter.
The Australian doesn’t play like any other guard in the league, and he’s not built like any other guard in the league. He may not light up the outside shooting, but he’s got enough power and raw talent to more than make up for it.