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'That will be in the history books': Simmons craves Olympic success

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Ball, Simmons part of new point guard eras in LA and Philly (1:07)

Lonzo Ball and Ben Simmons have big shoes to fill playing the same position as Magic Johnson and Allen Iverson. The two will face off Wednesday night at 10:00 ET on ESPN. (1:07)

The visitors' locker room inside Los Angeles' Staples Center is not much bigger than the lounge room of an average family home.

When it is filled with gargantuan Philadelphia 76ers like 213cm, 113kg Joel Embiid, coaches, support staff and 30 reporters the room is the NBA's version of a sardine can.

Suddenly, with the words "make way for Ben", the mass of bodies part.

A path in the melee is created for Ben Simmons.

The 21-year-old from Melbourne is freshly showered and dressed in a baggy blue denim jacket.

He's ready for a night out at LA's hot new nightclub, Poppy, with Embiid and other 76ers, but before the party begins he stops to speak to squished reporters.

"Are you a game changer?" is the first question Simmons encounters.

"Am I? What do you think?" Simmons smiles.

"Well, your coach says you are," the reporter counters.

"I think I'm a pretty good player," Simmons says, adding he still has a long way to go.

It's not just 76ers coach Brett Brown who was describing Simmons as a game changer on Monday night at Staples Center.

Just down the hallway, LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers, a 34-year veteran of the NBA as a player and coach, was giving his own analysis of Simmons.

The 76ers had just erased a six-point last quarter deficit to beat the Clippers 109-105, with a game-plan devised by Rivers based on foiling the Australian failing.

"His vision is unbelievable," said Rivers, a wily point guard in the 1980s and 90s on the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs and Clippers.

"He makes quick decisions.

"He's stronger and bigger than you think and guys were just bouncing off him a lot."

Rivers is 193cm tall, average for an NBA point guard.

Simmons is an oversized "point forward" at 208cm, but is quick, athletic and possesses that innate court vision Rivers was enthusing about.

What also has Rivers and other NBA coaches terrified is Simmons is a rookie so he has Mt Everest-like upside.

He has played just 13 games.

Simmons is averaging 18 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists and has had eight double-doubles and two triple-doubles - placing him only in the rarified air of the great Oscar Robertson who dominated basketball in the 1960s and 70s.

Simmons' 7.5 assists have him ranked in the top five in the NBA, just behind league leader James Harden's 10.2, Russell Westbrook (9.8), John Wall (9.7) and LeBron James (8.8).

"He's fifth in the NBA now and you look at the people he is with in that high echelon of assist guys," Brown said.

"That is royalty."

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Simmons is a playmaking machine

76ers rookie Ben Simmons has made an instant impact on the Association with his unique skillset.

U.S.-born Brown has known Simmons since he was a baby.

Brown was an assistant coach at the Melbourne Tigers in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Simmons' father, Dave, also U.S.-born, was the team's centre-forward.

Brown has a theory his star's unique athleticism, toughness and ability to get low and beat the NBA's swiftest players to loose balls come from Simmons growing up playing Aussie rules.

A similar line could be drawn through the tough bunch of fellow scrappy Australians in the NBA - Matthew Dellavedova, Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Joe Ingles, Dante Exum and Thon Maker - as they all played junior Aussie rules or rugby league.

On Monday night in that sardine can that doubles as a locker room Simmons made it clear he was keen on playing for the Boomers at the 2020 Olympics.

"I want to represent Australia, definitely," he said.

The Boomers have never won an Olympic medal. Simmons says the drought will soon be over.

"History," Simmons said.

"That will be in the history books."