His first season in the NBA obviously didn’t go as expected, but Ben Simmons can still takeaway some positives from his past year with the Sixers. He acclimated himself to the lifestyle of an NBA player and tried to refine his much-maligned jump shot. During the team’s exit interviews today, Simmons spoke with the media about his shot, saying, “The whole time I was out I was working on [my shot].”
While that’s certainly no guaranteed of improvement, it’s still a welcoming sign. This situation feels a little reminiscent of Joel Embiid’s two redshirt years with the Sixers. Embiid shot just five three-pointers during his lone year at Kansas, making only one while shooting 68.5 percent from the charity stripe. After two years of limited mobility, Embiid worked on his shot incessantly. When he finally reached an NBA court, he demonstrated that he can be an above-average shooter from three-point range.
Simmons might be a more extreme example, but he attempted only three three-pointers as a freshman at LSU while shooting 67 percent from the free throw line. His jumper was the biggest question mark surrounding his game during the pre-draft process last year. Several months where Simmons was able to work on his shot, and very little else given his foot injury, might end up being a blessing in disguise.
Here are some other notable remarks from Sixers players today:
Simmons said he will begin 5-on-5 "when they (the Sixers) tell me."— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoCSN) April 13, 2017
Jahlil Okafor: "It was an interesting year, something that I’m proud to say I handled the right way."— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoCSN) April 13, 2017
“Interesting,” is certainly one way to put it.
Dario Saric plans to rest, spend time working on his game in Philly, and then later play with the Croatian national team this summer.— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) April 13, 2017
Dario Saric needs a break, but I’m sure a guy who’s as fierce of a competitor for the Sixers isn’t willing to take it easy when it comes to his national team. Croatia will be playing in EuroBasket 2017 from August 31 through September 17 with games taking place in Israel, Finland, Romania and Turkey. Croatia finished ninth in the competition back in 2015.
#Sixers c @Rich_Holmes22 when asked who will get his rookie-of-the-year vote: "Joel Saric." pic.twitter.com/u7sHSyxJqJ— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) April 13, 2017
Covington"I feel like rookie of the year should come here."— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) April 13, 2017
Embiid and Saric’s teammates are hedging their bets with the Rookie of the Year race. That’s definitely the way to play it.
#Sixers G Jerryd Bayless will be cleared for full contact drills in about a month.— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) April 13, 2017
Jerryd Bayless is confirmed to be alive and not locked in Bryan Colangelo’s basement.
#Sixers McConnell says he will 'target everything' in the offseason but will concentrate on shooting 3-pointers.— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) April 13, 2017
The basketball world is not ready for T.J. McConnell equipped with a three-point shot.
"I like everything" - Saric on playing for the Sixers— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoCSN) April 13, 2017
I like everything too, Dario.
Stauskas: "I think everyone's goal is to be a playoff team (next year)." #sixers— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) April 13, 2017
I’m eagerly anticipating “The Nik Stauskas Game” in a four vs. five first-round game against the Raptors on the road next season.
Robert Covington said 'The Process will be done once we make that leap."— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) April 13, 2017
As a wise man once said, “We’ll all know.”