Ben Simmons has made it known that he will not be wearing green and gold in Rio this year.
The conversation around whether Ben Simmons will be able to juggle both NBA commitments and the NBA draft process has been a hot topic. Today Ben Simmons decision made it clear to Basketball Australia.
The report came from ESPN’s Chris Broussard, who quoted Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, who confirmed Simmons will focus on NBA activities, while looking to play for Australia in the future.
“Ben Simmons will postpone playing with the Australian Olympic team this summer in order to concentrate fully on his NBA activities following the upcoming 2016 NBA draft,” Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, said in a statement.
“Australian Olympic Team training and competition takes place at the same time as the various NBA summer development programs, and therefore, Ben will look forward to his national team participation at some time later in his career.”
Even with Simmons’ being unlikely to be available for the Rio Olympics the 19-year-old was still included in an Australian men’s basketball squad in March
Playing in the Olympics likely wouldn’t have jeopardized Simmons’ stock, since the games take place after the June 23 draft. That being said, one can understand why his focus would be firmly on the NBA season ahead rather than international competition.
There was a $500,000 difference between last years number one pick (Karl Anthony-Towns) and it’s second pick (D’Angelo Russell) so it shows the incredible amounts of money up for grabs for the young tyro and even slipping just one spot in the NBA draft could be a huge financial loss.
His NBA salary aside, sneaker deals from Nike and Adidas currently await the former Box Hill Secondary School student’s signature. A sneaker deal from either company is expected to be around $US90-$US100 million dollars and will make Simmons the highest paid Australian athlete before he even plays an NBA game.
The higher Simmons is drafted will result in the more negotiating power he has with the sneaker giants of the world.
This year Simmons was the most talked-about player on the college basketball scene. While LSU struggled for wins against the top college teams and failed to reach the NCAA tournament.
The young aussie averaged more than 19 points a game for the LSU Tigers, as well as 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. His all-round brilliance is what’s made him so appealing to NBA franchises.
It’s no guarantee he’ll go first though, with Duke’s Brandon Ingram another realistic prospect who did his own chances no harm with an impressive post-season tournament. Despite Simmons athleticism and upside causing NBA scouts to salivate at the thought of acquiring the next Lebron James, Ingram is noted to have incredible length and is a much better shooting ability than Simmons.
Given the way the NBA game is evolving, length and shooting is what translates to success in the NBA so those things are sure to be on the mind of whatever team ends up picking at No. 1.
Although word from Simmons camp is he still wants to be a “Boomer” and could be playing for the national team as soon as 2018, Simmons has spent little time in the Australian system since making his Boomers debut in 2013.
He was cut from the side for the 2014 FIBA World Cup, and didn’t play in last year’s two-leg Oceania Olympic qualifiers in Melbourne and Wellington.
It’s understood there will be a replacement named for the Australian team in the next few days,
Current Boomers squad:
David Andersen (ASVEL, France), Cameron Bairstow (Chicago Bulls), Aron Baynes (Detroit Pistons), Todd Blanchfield (Melbourne United), Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors), Angus Brandt (Sydney Kings), Ryan Broekhoff (Lokomotiv Kuban, Russia), Mitchell Creek (Adelaide 36ers), Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers), Dante Exum (Utah Jazz), Adam Gibson (Adelaide 36ers), Cameron Gliddon (Cairns Taipans), Chris Goulding (Melbourne United), Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz), Nathan Jawai (Perth Wildcats), Daniel Kickert(Melbourne United), Kevin Lisch (Illawarra Hawks), Aleks Maric (Buducnost Podgorica, Montenegro), Damian Martin (Perth Wildcats), Patrick Mills (San Antonio Spurs), Brock Motum (Zalgiris Kaunas, Lithuania), Brad Newley (Gran Canaria, Spain), Mitchell Norton (Townsville Crocodiles), Ben Simmons (LSU), Clint Steindl (Townsville Crocodiles), Lucas Walker (Adelaide 36ers).