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Pacers coach compares Ben Simmons to LeBron James and Magic Johnson

Nate McMillan said Simmons is a lengthy point guard, the likes of which the NBA has not seen in a long time.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan.
Pacers coach Nate McMillan.Read moreDarron Cummings / AP File Photo

Ben Simmons is making life difficult for opposing coaches to create a game plan. The rookie point guard's size alone makes defensive matchups a tricky area to navigate.

"It's unique in the sense that Simmons is a 6-10 point guard. We haven't seen that in a long time," Pacers coach Nate McMillan said Friday morning, hours before his team's game against the Sixers. "LeBron [James] is about as close as a big guard that's handling the ball as much as he does. Magic [Johnson] was that other guy. The league really hasn't seen the big point guards in a long time."

This is not the first time the Sixers rookie has been mentioned alongside some of the NBA's greats. He notched his fifth double-double of the season Wednesday against Atlanta and became the second player ever to begin his career with eight straight games of 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists. The other is Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, who managed those numbers through his first 10 career games.

"He's just gifted. To be his size and to be able to do what he does, that's a gift in itself," Victor Oladipo said after the Pacers' morning shoot-around at the Wells Fargo Center. "We're definitely going to have to do a great job of slowing him down tonight."

Will Turner play?

Pacers center Myles Turner, who has been sidelined because of a concussion suffered in Indiana's season opener, will be a game-time decision against the Sixers. Even without their starting center, the Pacers have been on a roll. They have won three straight, including a 124-107 decision Wednesday against the Cavaliers.

"The part that took so long was just getting out of the [NBA's concussion] protocol and passing those tests. It was strenuous," Turner said, adding that he's just looking forward to getting back on the court.