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Simmons bulks up for NBA debut

Ben Simmons says he has stacked on 15kg of muscle since being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Ben Simmons says he has stacked on 15kg of muscle since being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Photo Source: AP

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Ben Simmons says he has stacked on 15kg of muscle since the Philadelphia 76ers selected him with the number one pick at June's NBA Draft.

It's a good thing.

The 20-year-old Australian rookie will be carrying a heavy load of expectations as he heads into his first NBA season.

"I'm a lot stronger," Simmons told reporters at the 76ers' media day on Monday.

After going down with leg cramps in his first Summer League game for the 76ers on July 4, Simmons has been furiously working out, including a recent stint in Los Angeles with his superstar mentor LeBron James and a crew of All-Star veterans including Dwyane Wade.

His weight has jumped from 98kg to 113kg.

"The weight room was tough," said Simmons, describing trying to keep up with James' and Wade's workouts.

"But, I enjoyed that and learning and being around them.

"Seeing how much work they put in made me realise how much I have to put in."

NBA teams begin their pre-season camps on Tuesday.

The 76ers play their first pre-season game against the Boston Celtics on October 4 and the team's regular season begins against the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 26.

Australia heads into the new NBA season with a record contingent of players: Simmons (76ers); Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker (Milwaukee Bucks); Andrew Bogut (Dallas Mavericks); Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs); Aron Baynes (Detroit Pistons); Dante Exum and Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz).

Dellavedova, after winning last season's NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers, cashed in during the off-season with a four-year, $US38 million deal with the Bucks and was all smiles at his new team's media day.

Bucks' head coach and All-Star point guard Jason Kidd has indicated Dellavedova could be the team's starting point guard when the season starts.

"If I need to play shooting guard, point guard, small forward or power forward - centre might be a stretch - I'll try to do whatever is needed," Dellavedova said.

Asked if Bucks fans might see him play differently to what he did at the Cavaliers, Dellavedova replied: "Like some dunks or something?"

The 216cm tall, 19-year-old rookie Maker said he was relishing playing alongside Dellavedova.

"He's a fellow Australian and that's exciting," Maker said.

"To see him as a guy who won a championship - I want to be a winner too - it gives me a tool in terms of asking advice.

"Just having him beside me on the court is a big difference."

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