76ers coach Brett Brown is thrilled with Ben Simmons at power forward as the team looks to change things up for the resumption of the NBA season.
Simmons, who is averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game this season, is back to full fitness after a back injury sidelined him in February, and now he's showcasing his ability at a new position after having played as a point guard.
"He's so dynamic," Brown said Monday on a conference call with reporters. "Let's just talk about running. There's nobody faster in the NBA. So to always have the ball and dribble it up against five guys . . . to do that dilutes some of his potent weapons.
"So, watching him fly up the floor, watching him and Joel [Embiid] play off each other, has been a really good look. I think they've been fantastic together."
Brown, whose 76ers (39-26) are sixth in the Eastern Conference, added: "You take somebody and say, 'Here's the ball.' It's not like Ben came in and we had Chris Paul on the team or Damian Lillard on the team. We were young, and really not that good, so it was my decision: 'You take the ball. We're going to make you the point guard.' It's not like there was an established point guard that he had to bump out.
"[And] how has he responded to that? Like a star. Just a mature, 'Whatever it's going to take to get this team to be the best it can be with the pieces that we have that can be, I don't know, just designed into a smooth thing' . . . that is one of the pieces he has to offer. He's been great accepting that, and really killing it in the environment that I just said."
With the 76ers trying Simmons out the four, Shake Milton is set to replace the Australian as the team's No. 1 point guard. The move also leaves Al Horford on the bench following his struggles since arriving from the Celtics.
Milton has averaged 9.5 points, 2.2 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game in 2019-20. He scored a career-high 39 points against the Clippers prior to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent season delay in March.
"He's been amazing," Embiid said of Milton. "He's been the starting point guard, and I think he has a huge opportunity to help us accomplish what we believe we can.
"He's been doing an amazing job and he's running the team and we're going to need him to knock down shots, which he did, before the league got shut down. He was on a roll so we're going to need him to keep it going. But it's great."
The 2019-20 NBA campaign is set to restart via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex near Orlando, Fla., on July 30 after the season was postponed due to COVID-19 in March. Philadelphia will return to action against the Pacers on Aug. 1.