It’s never easy to find a youngster that could take your franchise to a whole new level, and building around a prospect is a huge gamble considering all of the little things that could go the wrong way.
However, when talents of the likes of Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum come up once in a decade, you take risks and do whatever it takes to wrap your arms around them as your cornerstones for the future.
Nonetheless, who’s more impressive? Who could actually have a better career? Who’s more impactful as of today? Let’s break both players down and put an end to this debate once and for all.
Inside Scoring - Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons is one of the most dominant inside scorers in the league despite being just on his second season as a professional. He does all of his damage from within close range and averages 16.8 points on 57% shooting. Tatum is a crafty finisher as well, but Simmons is just unstoppable when he drives.
Outside Scoring - Jayson Tatum
99.9% of NBA players are better outside scorers than Ben Simmons, who’s yet to score the first three-pointer of his career in just 14 total attempts. Also, Tatum has a sweet shooting stroke from deep, even though he’s kind of regressed this year in that regard. So far, Tatum scores 1.4 three-pointers a game on 40% shooting.
Playmaking - Ben Simmons
Despite his tender age, Ben Simmons is already one of the best playmakers this league has ever seen, and that ability to create is exactly what makes him stand from the pack like Magic Johnson and LeBron James. Tatum is a willing passer but averages 1.9 assists per game compared to Simmons’ 7.9. Also, Simmons’ career high for dimes is 15 compared to Tatum’s 6.
Athleticism - Jayson Tatum
This one was pretty close, as both players are extremely athletic, but we give the nod here to Tatum. Simmons is strong, fast and physical, but tends to settle for a bully ball from time to time. Tatum, on the other hand, knows how to contour his body to create or avoid contact, posterize his rivals and make the most of his length on defense.
Defense - Ben Simmons
Talking about length and wingspan, Simmons truly knows how to take advantage of that on switches and mismatches. Tatum is actually a well better defender than expected and has a lot of upsides, but Simmons can already guard one through five with ease and is one of the most switchable defenders in the league.
Rim Protection - Even
They’re both very similar rim protectors, even though Simmons spends less time below the rim on defense. Tatum is slightly better when it comes to timing, but Simmons is a master at recovering and helping out to block shots from the weak side. They both average 0.8 swats per game per their career, although Tatum’s career high for blocks is 6 compared to Simmons’ 4.
Rebounding - Ben Simmons
Jayson Tatum is a solid rebounder for his position and he keeps getting more involved and committed in that regard as his career progresses, but Ben Simmons is one of the best rebounding non-big men players in the league already. Tatum averages 6.3 per game compared to Simmons’ 9.0, and Tatum’s career high for boards is 14 compared to Simmons’ 22.
Clutch - Jayson Tatum
While Ben Simmons is an amazing player, he’s been a huge offensive liability in the clutch so far. Given his lack of a jump-shot, defenses just collapse the paint to prevent him from driving, or foul him on purpose because of his poor free-throw shooting. Tatum, on the other hand, has shown glimpses of greatness in the clutch and isn’t afraid to take a big shot when it matters the most.
Leadership - Ben Simmons
Ever since being drafted, Ben Simmons stepped up as one of the Philadelphia 76ers vocal leaders. Along with Joel Embiid, he’s encouraged and called his teammates out when needed, even though he’s still in debt in the clutch. Tatum is more of a low-profile kind of guy that rarely speaks on the court, mostly because of the veterans in Boston.
Basketball IQ - Even
While Ben Simmons is a master of finding gaps and creating space and passing lanes where most humans wouldn’t be able to do so, he tends to be careless with the rock on his hands at times, so that hurt his score a bit here. Tatum is great when playing off the ball, creating for others and going between screens. Both are high IQ ballers, so we couldn’t choose one over the other.
Better Scorer - Jayson Tatum
This one’s a complete no-brainer here. Jayson Tatum is one of the most promising scorers in the league not only because of how efficient he is but because of the fact that he can consistently knock down shots from all three levels. Simmons is dominant below the rim but lacks a face-up game, and his jump shot is still a work in progress.
Impact - Ben Simmons
Jayson Tatum is great as it is, but the Boston Celtics have a lot of weapons and talented players that could step up for him if needed. Simmons, on the other hand, is a guy you just can’t replace. Simmons is a better defender and the Sixers’ offense flows through his hands, so he’s more impactful as for today.
1 on 1 - Jayson Tatum
While Simmons is stronger and may have the upper hand guarding Tatum in the post, Tatum has way more weapons than Simmons right now. Ben needs the presence of others to become a real threat, while Tatum can do a little bit of everything and is already a crafty and versatile scorer.