If the voting for the NBA Rookie of the Year award will be done today, Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers is definitely the hands-down winner, beating Lonzo Ball and other rookies by a mile. Starting in all eleven games, the top overall pick during the 2016 NBA Draft averaged 17.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 7.8 assists.

But more than the numbers he constantly contributes every game, Simmons’ leadership helped the Sixers win six of their last eight games. And his intimidating presence on the defensive end, especially against point guards, has proven to critics that he can actually play defense.

Learning curve

“I feel like I’ve been preparing for this moment my whole life,” Ben Simmons told USA TODAY Sports. “I put a lot of work in during the summer and when I was out all last season to get ready.”

Remember, Simmons was unable to play at least one game during his supposed rookie year last season due to an injury during the team’s final day of training camp. He was supposed to be back after three to four months but was ruled out for the entire season after further tests revealed that the injury has not fully healed. \\

His injury somehow gave him enough time to observe and adjust to the professional league. Simmons believed turning pro has made him become a better player. In a recent interview, Simmons relayed how he managed to learn more “in Philly and being a pro, than I did at LSU,” as posted by Bleacher Report.

TCU assistant coach David Patrick caught up with Ben Simmons when the Sixers visited the Mavericks in Dallas. He told Bleacher Report that the rookie felt “the game in the NBA was easier for him to control than in college because he has the ball in his hands at the point of attack.”

NBA history record book

Here’s the proof: two triple-double performances in his first nine games.

Simmons' first triple-double was against the Detroit Pistons, where he dropped 21 points, dished out 10 assists, and grabbed 12 rebounds. Against the Indiana Pacers, he scored 14 points, 11 assists and the same number of rebounds. Ben Simmons now sits beside Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as just the player to record two triple-doubles in his first nine games.

Aside from this feat, Simmons also had two other triple-double performances (versus Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks). Plus, he’s shooting 50.0% from the field. As what Sixers head coach Brett Brown can say about his rising superstar, “He completely exceeds his limited years in the league.”

Defensive improvement

At 6’10” (some reports suggested he had grown 2 inches since his injury), Ben Simmons has learned to impose his intimidating frame against smaller point guards. In recent games, his improvement on defense helped the Philadelphia 76ers won because the opposing point guards are unable to operate accordingly.

He recorded his best defensive performance yet in his young NBA career early this week when the Philadelphia 76ers visited the Utah Jazz. Watch how Ben Simmons managed to change the outcome of the ballgame.