Back Ben Simmons to be the first Aussie in the NBA All-Star Game

Ben Simmons is Australia's first genuine NBA superstar in-the-making.

Heck, many have him already pegged as a superstar now.

There are very few reasons why Simmons should not be in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, and every Australian-- whether a 76ers supporter or not-- should make every effort to vote for one of their own and back him in.

If Simmons does make it through to the All-Star event being held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, he will make history as the first Aussie to do so. The only other Aussie to ever come close to being in contention, Andrew Bogut, ultimately saw his chances derailed by untimely injury.

Basketball is booming in Australia, it's popularity is skyrocketing behind the record number of Aussies in the NBA, led by the shining star that is Simmons. The sport captured the imagination of everyone at the 2016 Rio Olympics, with the Boomers one-bad call away from a historic first ever medal. The NBL is on an upward trajectory, and with Simmons being selected to the biggest showcase event outside of the NBA Finals, basketball will remain front and centre of the Australian general public.

Simmons is a special player, and is more than just a number one NBA Draft pick.

https://twitter.com/DidTheSixersWin/status/948990664779366406

There are only two other players in the NBA this season averaging at least 16 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists per game. Their names are LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. Across the last five seasons, only three players have been able to deliver such results. Those outcomes belong to James (twice), Westbrook and Houston Rockets star James Harden. That is extremely rare company.

Diving a little further, only Westbrook (13) and James (7) have more triple-doubles than Simmons (4) this season. It is also easy to forget that Simmons is a rookie.

The Australian's name is being spoken of in the same breath as James. He may well be the heir apparent to the King's throne too.

In the first release of NBA voting results, Simmons came in at fourth among all East guards with 210,085 votes, trailing Melbourne born Kyrie Irving's 802,834, and behind Toronto's DeMar DeRozan (259,368) and Indiana's Victor Olidipo (251,886). Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the voting with a massive 863,416 votes, with a country of Greek basketball fanatics getting behind their home-grown star. Australia should do the same with Simmons.

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Based on last year's results and the current poll standing, Simmons is an outside chance of starting even though he is not guaranteed to even make the game itself. Ex-Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas finished fourth in the fan vote last year, but the media and players helped vote him up to a starting position.

When you review Simmons' statistics so far this season, it would appear obvious he should be an All-Star selection. However his status as a rookie could ultimately prove his undoing.

Only three rookies have been selected as an All-star across the last 20 years, and none of them were named LeBron James, who just so happened to averaged 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assist per game in his first season. Only Blake Griffin (2011), Yao Ming (2003) and Tim Duncan (1998) have managed to make it to All-Star weekend in their first season.

However the time is right for the next rookie to get the call up. That rookie is Simmons.

#NBAVote Ben Simmons

Australian basketball fans have begun to bolster their efforts to back Simmons into the 2018 NBA All-Star game, with social media going berserk behind efforts to maximise the 2-for-1 votes on offer, with The Pick and Roll helping drive those efforts.

Such was the overwhelming support, The Pick and Roll managed to trend in Melbourne, Philadelphia and across Australia on 5 January (Australian time).

https://twitter.com/TrendsAustralia/status/949113360578220033

So Australia, it is now up to you to help make history. Help put an Aussie in the NBA All-Star game, and #NBAVote Ben Simmons on social media or via the NBA.com website.

https://twitter.com/PickandRollAU/status/949218268325216256