Why Ben Simmons Will Shoot This Season
Year after year, offseason after offseason, 76ers fans have been teased by pickup-game videos from Ben Simmons. Shooting fadeaway jumpers off the dribble and looking like he has a complete offensive game, I can understand why a lot of fans don’t want to get fooled again. But after the shortest offseason in NBA history, coming off an injury, and learning an entirely new system from a new coach, here are my 3 reasons why Ben Simmons will shoot the ball from deep this season.
Catching & Shooting
I think this is the most crucial aspect of the Ben Simmons shooting controversy. Very rarely over his first few NBA seasons did Simmons ever catch the ball in a position to shoot it from the outside. In all the pregame shooting and practice videos we have seen, he is most successful off the catch and shoot. Wildly, Brett Brown never thought that would be something to capitalize on. Doc Rivers’ system already allows for a multitude of players to bring the ball up, consequently freeing up Simmons to find his spots to catch and shoot.
Even looking back to last season, the two deep shots he made were off a swing pass to the corner, and a skip pass to the short wing. I don’t ever think Ben will be the type of player to create space off the dribble and shoot a step-back three. But he has shown us the willingness to shoot off the pass and this offense allows him to do that, whereas he hasn’t had this chance before.
Doc Rivers has said that he isn’t worried about Simmons’ shooting and that he just wants him to be aggressive:
“I’m going to give him the keys and let him be free. If he takes no shots, I’m fine. If he takes 10 threes, I’m fine, if he gets to the line 15 times, I’m fine.”Doc Rivers on letting Ben Simmons play free in the Sixers offense
Ben has never had this type of confidence from his coach and has never been pushed by a group of coaches the way Doc, Sam Cassell, Dave Joerger, and Popeye Jones have been pushing him. These are championship-caliber coaches that understand Simmons’s potential. According to Doc, Ben has the keys and when he gets creative and starts to play his game, don’t be surprised when you see some threes fly.
Vets in the Building
One of the underrated areas of need for the Sixers over the last few years has been getting the correct veterans in the organization. Almost immediately, Daryl Morey took care of that by adding Danny Green and Dwight Howard. This may seem insignificant, but Simmons has already spoken on how important Howard has been:
“That’s more so just him being vocal and him being a leader. He’s a vet, he’s been in this league for a while, and he’s had different experiences. He’s going to be huge for us.”Ben Simmons on Dwight Howard’s impact
Hearing Ben say how important Howard will be on and off the court speaks volumes about how vital these vets are. Danny Green talked about his relationship with Simmons early in camp, saying he wanted to challenge him to become more well rounded:
“You know, you can’t be afraid to take those jumpers…You’re not a bad shooter, it’s all confidence and mental. I’m going to try to take it upon myself to challenge him…Maybe taking one corner three a game.”Danny Green on encouraging Ben Simmons to shoot
Hearing that from yourself or your coaches is one thing. To hear a brand new veteran teammate can be game-changing, not to mention they will be sharing the floor a lot throughout this season and postseason.
Everyone and their mother knows the knock on Ben Simmons is that he refuses to shoot, and they aren’t wrong. But Ben Simmons is a generational talent and deserves to be treated as such. People are rightfully concerned about his willingness to shoot, but with this given evidence, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ben flip the script on everyone this season. I personally can’t wait.
Mandatory Credit: 6ABC | ESPN