Featured Photo Credit: USA Today

Five games into the 2017-18 NBA season, it’s hard to argue against the thought that the Philadelphia 76ersBen Simmons is the early favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year.

He currently leads all rookies in both scoring (averaging 16.4 points per game) and rebounding (averaging 10.0 per game). Simmons is also the only rookie averaging a double-double and is second in rookies in assists per game (averaging 7.4 per game to Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball’s 9.0 assists per game).

Simmons was the first rookie to tally a double-double in each of his first four career games in 25 years. Most impressively, on Monday night, Simmons became just the third player in NBA history to record a triple-double within his first four NBA games.

It seems that the foot injury that caused him to miss all of last season is firmly in the past.

Nearly 7-feet tall with guard-like abilities, Simmons’ skill set gives him great advantages against many matchups. He can use his size against smaller players and his speed against bigger, slower players.

He’s comfortable handling the ball and is adept at finishing around the rim with either hand. He can see the court and make plays the way few players can, particularly at his size. He’s quickly becoming one of the better all-around players in the NBA at only 21 years of age.

Consistently hitting shots from outside the paint, however, remains a weakness that dates back to his days at LSU. Despite not yet showing a greatly improved jump shot, Simmons can continue to improve on that throughout his career.

Sixer fans have had to ‘Trust the Process’ for years and it may finally be coming to fruition.

Despite their early 1-4 record to start the season, Simmons and sophomore Joel Embiid (23) have shown a ton of promise and, provided they remain healthy, could develop into one of the best duos NBA has seen.

There is no telling how high his or the Sixers’ future ceiling is. Led by Simmons, Embiid, fellow rookie Markelle Fultz (19) and sophomore Dario Saric (23), the Sixers have collected a number of talented young players over the last few years. Now, it’s all about putting those pieces together, following through and continuing to trust the process.

Simmons may be the key to the Sixers finally returning to elite NBA status.