clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ben Simmons gaining confidence at the free throw line is a scary thought

New, comments

A point-forward hybrid who can’t shoot, Simmons is starting to figure out his form at the free throw line, and that should scare other teams

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Simmons has taken the NBA by storm this season, and for good reason. Along with Joel Embiid, Simmons has led the Sixers to the verge of playoff contention, and with a large chunk of the season still to be played, there’s reason to believe the team can make some noise.

Even with all of the great things Simmons does on the court there are still a few things that he needs to improve on in order to completely dominate the league. It’s quickly forgotten that Simmons is only a rookie since he often looks like a seasoned veteran on the court. With just a few adjustments he’s on his way to becoming a star in this league, and that starts with his free throws.

Most people are more worried about his jump shot, and that is understandable, but that is something that needs to be focused on all offseason. Simmons’ free throw form can be worked on in-season, and while it seems like such a small thing to fix, it has a much bigger effect than just getting extra points at the line.

Ben Simmons makes his money driving to the lane, simple as that. His jump shot will improve, but right now he relies on his inside presence to score. Because of his ability to bang on the inside, Simmons is fouled rather than opponents giving him an easy basket, forcing him to earn his points. As of right now Simmons is shooting 55.7% from the charity stripe, and while that number still isn't good, it is steadily improving. After finishing up his worst free throw shooting month of his young career in December (50%), he’s shooting 65% in four January games, and with that comes more confidence (Simmons shot 67% in his sole season at LSU).

You can tell the difference of how Simmons plays when he’s hitting his free throws. The offense runs a lot smoother, teams aren’t as willing to foul the big point guard, forcing them to even double-team him inside, freeing up another Sixer to make a play. Only 40 games into his professional career, Simmons is sure to keep improving. In order for the Sixers to live up to their potential he needs to be the catalyst of this team, and even in such a small sample size, Ben’s ability to correct himself and find success is something that can not be taken for granted.

Ben Simmons has all the potential in the world, and with him already showing signs of domination without a shot, just thinking about him adding that to his game has to scare the rest of the NBA. But first, we’ll settle for some free throws.

Side Note: Look on the bright side, the Sixers are in the hunt for a playoff spot, and at least we’re past whatever this roster is...