Tue, Oct 4, 5:51pm by Bren O'Brien
Corporate bookmakers have shut down betting on the NBA Rookie of the Year, after a serious foot injury looks set to sideline Aussie No.1 pick Ben Simmons for at least three months.
Simmons was as short as $2.25 with Aussie bookmakers, with the forward set to get plenty of opportunities after being drafted as top pick by the Philadelphia 76ers.
But a training mishap resulted in a fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, with the injury serious enough to sideline him for at least three months, with the likelihood that it could be more.
The 208cm Melbourne-born star will be given plenty of time to recover, with suggestions that he may even sit out his entire first year in order to make sure the injury heals correctly.
“We’ve all been hit in the stomach and you lose your wind,” coach Brett Brown told NBC Philadelphia this week.
“There is nobody, sadly, that’s had more experience dealing with injured draft picks than we have.” Brown said. “Over the course of time, you learn how to best deal with it. I have seen this every year I’ve been here.”
Another player who has reached out to Simmons is Cavs superstar LeBron James. James has the same management company as Simmons and is already acting as a mentor.
“He’s like a little brother of mine and I’ve been with him and counselled him for the last four-to-five years now,” James, who guided the Cavs to a memorable NBA title earlier this year, said.
“I’ll continue that.”
“He has a long career in front of him and he just has to be patient, let the foot heal and when he gets back on the floor then he’ll show why he’s the number one pick.”
When markets re-open, Brandon Ingram, who when to the LA Lakers as No.2 pick in the draft, is expected to hold favouritsm, with Kris Dunn, No.5 pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the main challenger.
It would be the height of irony should Simmons’ Sixers team-mate Joel Embiid get himself the award. Embiid has spent the past two years awaiting his NBA debut following his own foot problems.
“Obviously I felt for him,” Embiid said. “Immediately I had to talk to him and try to tell him everything is going to be ok, he has to keep his head up. … It’s all about patience and doing the right thing. You’ve got to do what you’re supposed to do.”
The Aussie who could make an impression in the rookie ranks in Thon Maker, who went pick No.10 to the Milwaukee Bucks. Maker was a $17 shot with Simmons still in the market. Maker has suffered a wrist injury in the pre-season, but is expected to play a role in the NBA pre-season matches.
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