Ben Simmons made his professional debut Wednesday night in the Philadelphia 76ers' 120-115 loss to the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena, and he told reporters after the season opener that being out on the floor following a year-long absence was surreal.
"It felt like I was playing 2K honestly," he said, according to Bleacher Report's Yaron Weitzman. "Just looking at [Joel] Embiid out there with the lights on his jersey. I was like, 'Man, I'm actually here.' It's fun. I'm enjoying it. Lot of games left."
Simmons, 21, finished the evening with 18 points (7-of-15 shooting), 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.
However, he wasn't quick to celebrate those achievements.
"I think I did OK," Simmons said, according to the Bucks County Courier Times' Tom Moore. "It would’ve been better if we got the win."
That said, Sixers head coach Brett Brown wasn't afraid to heap praise on the rookie.
"How about Ben Simmons' first game in the #NBA?" Brown said, per a tweet from Moore. "I felt his first game was really exceptional."
Although the Sixers came up short because of late turnover woes, Simmons looked comfortable pushing the ball in transition and finishing through traffic. The former No. 1 pick also appeared up to the task operating as the team's primary pick-and-roll ball-handler in the half court thanks to a quick first step and length that allowed him to finish over and around defenders.
Along with Simmons, 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz also debuted Wednesday evening in the nation's capital.
Working off the bench after Brown tabbed veteran Jerryd Bayless to start, Fultz chipped in 10 points on a tidy 5-of-9 shooting to go with three rebounds and a block. That said, Fultz missed both of his free throws, as concerns regarding his adjusted form continued to surface at the charity stripe.
Fultz and Simmons will attempt to lead the Sixers to their first win of the season Friday when they return to the floor at Wells Fargo Center for an Atlantic Division tilt with the Boston Celtics.