Philadelphia 76ers 'very fortunate' to have Simmons – Brown hails NBA All-Star

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Brett Brown said the Philadelphia 76ers are "very fortunate" to have NBA All-Star Ben Simmons, who continues to impress his head coach.

Brown has repeatedly praised Simmons as the 76ers step up their preparations for the NBA's return following the coronavirus-enforced break.

Philadelphia will return to action against Eastern Conference rivals the Indiana Pacers on August 1 at the Disney World complex in Orlando, boosted by the comeback of Simmons following a back injury.

Simmons was averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game before the injury in February and 76ers coach Brown hailed the 24-year-old on his birthday.

"To be a two-time NBA All-Star to be discussed in a very serious way as a Defensive Player of the Year to certainly be on an All-League Defensive Team to being rewarded with a max contract to come in and play a point guard primary ball-handler position all along that path achieving some of those things that I just said and then be able to pivot out and play an interior position, the versatility that I just discussed and then be rewarded is off the charts unique," said Brown. "His better days are well and truly ahead of him.

"The foundation that he has already established at such an incredibly young age, I don't think gets the full praise that it should.

"I think that the Philadelphia 76ers are very fortunate to have him in our uniform for I'm sure a very long time.

"Just think about that age and when you start referencing some of the other great players in our league, just from a statistics or acknowledgment perspective if you start draping championships at what age did these other great players experience championship success, you're going to find there's a commonality of about 28-years old seems to be the honey spot. He just turned 24."

The 76ers are sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 39-26 record – identical to that of the Pacers – and adrift of the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12), defending champions the Toronto Raptors (46-18), Boston Celtics (43-12) and Miami Heat (41-24).