Ben Simmons is good, like really, REALLY good. Coming into the season there were some questions about if he was the total package on offense, and in 20 games it’s pretty obvious he's answered those questions with a resounding yes. Comparisons to LeBron James run rampant through Sixers Twitter, and it’s easy to see why, Simmons can quite literally do it all.
Everyone knew of his abilities to cut to the net and finish around the rim, but the big question mark about his offensive game was how else he could score. Sure, Simmons could score about 12 points a game just by driving to the bucket, but defenses can adjust to that, he needs to find other ways to score. His jumper was inconsistent at best in college, but he was able to make up for that with his pure athleticism. He can do that to a certain extent at the professional level, but his entire game can’t be based off of that mindset. Attacking the net takes a toll on the body. Taking unnecessary shots constantly isn’t what the team needs their franchise cornerstone to be doing all of the time. Working on that inconsistent jumper is the key to keeping Simmons on the court and thriving.
20 games in and Simmons has been using that jump shot more than most could’ve imagined, pulling up when he realizes he won’t be able to attack the basket. It still needs work, but it is further along than many expected. Already having such a polished offensive game puts Ben Simmons ahead of the learning curve, and his ability to at least take short mid-range jumpers effects the rest of the court. Defenses now have to take into account that Simmons can hit the wide open jump shot from certain spots, so having a defender sag off of him won’t be effective. By having someone on top of him that leaves one less defender on the inside, meaning Joel Embiid isn’t getting double teamed and can be given the ball for a higher percentage shot from the paint.
In this clip Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles gives Simmons too much room when he gets the ball, a nice pick is set by Amir Johnson, and Simmons is wide open for a jump shot from the free throw line. With more and more successful plays like this Ben’s confidence in the shot will grow and become a more consistent part of his offense that will make him even more lethal.
Right now Ben Simmons lives around the net, driving and cutting with the ball and his hands is what he does best, especially this early in his career. The shot Simmons needs to take more effectively is between 10 and 16 feet, which he is only shooting 21% of the time. This limits him on offense slightly, but with defenders not playing tight defense on him all the time, that number is bound to go up. A field goal percentage of only 29% on these shots isn’t pretty, but fans must remember this is only a small sample size.
Patience is key, I mean, fans have waited through much worse than a future stars shooting woes...right? Ben Simmons has everything needed to succeed, and while the numbers don’t show it, his jump shot is coming along much quicker than expected.
Side Note: I said the end of my articles would be fun, so I think we should take a look at something I like to call “The Process Graveyard” and pay our respects to some former members of the Process. First up is my personal favorite, KJ McDaniels.