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Ben Simmons: Chemistry with Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor goes back

LAS VEGAS -- Ben Simmons feels he is in an ideal situation with the Philadelphia 76ers.

After finishing his Las Vegas summer league with a 74-66 win over Miami on Friday, the No. 1 overall draft pick says Philadelphia is the right place given his history with coach Brett Brown and teammates Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor.

"It is pretty perfect," Simmons said of being surrounded by familiar faces in Philadelphia. "I could not be in a better situation."

After sitting out two straight games, Simmons played on Friday and filled up the stat sheet against the Miami Heat in a consolation game.

The versatile forward started the Vegas summer league with a near quadruple double in a much-hyped meeting with second overall pick Brandon Ingram and the Lakers. Simmons had 8 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 7 turnovers in a 70-69 loss to the Lakers, who got a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from D'Angelo Russell.

Simmons finished his stint in Vegas with 15 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and 6 turnovers in the win over Miami.

In his four games in Vegas, Simmons averaged 12.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 5.2 turnovers and shot 40.9% from the field.

While neither Okafor or Embiid played in Las Vegas, both accompanied the team. The pass-first Simmons said he used the time in the Utah and Vegas summer leagues to familiarize himself with several key Sixers.

"I've learned everyone's game pretty well over the past two weeks," Simmons said. "We have grown a lot from Utah to here."

He also says he got re-acquainted with Okafor and Embiid -- two guys he has known since high school.

"I've known them since 10th grade so we have had that chemistry for a while," Simmons said. "As soon as we hit the court, hopefully it is the same. I am looking forward to playing with them."

Brown, who has known Simmons since he was a toddler after coaching Simmons' father in Australia, kept a close eye on his prized prospect at the summer league games. Simmons dazzled the crowd at times in every game he played with sensational passes and his deft court awareness.

Simmons didn't shoot a lot from the perimeter with opponents largely backing off of him. But saying afterward that he wanted to take over and win the game, Simmons was aggressive in his final summer league game, shooting 5-for-15 and missing his only 3-pointer attempted here in Las Vegas.

"We saw all that we needed," assistant coach and Sixers summer league coach Lloyd Pierce said on Thursday after keeping Simmons out for two consecutive games. "We got him on the court, we got him with our guys, we know what our concerns and his concerns are. We know what his strengths are. He is going to add an unbelievable dimension to our team.

"We are just going to develop him as we have done with everybody else," Pierce added. "We are going to take our time, be very patient with his growth and try not to give him too much. There are a lot of expectations on him already but we are going to be very diligent with him and give him an opportunity to grow."

Simmons said he has grown and matured a great deal in the last two months and wants to improve on "everything."

"I think I played pretty well overall," Simmons said of his summer league experience. "A lot of learning and growing to do and that comes with it. I am looking forward to getting to Philly and getting started."

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With Simmons back in action, 76ers beat Heat
With Simmons back in action, 76ers beat Heat
Ben Simmons returns to summer league action in impressive fashion, scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds and six assists in the 76ers' win over the Heat.
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