Ben Simmons is one of the quickest rising stars in the NBA. After a missed first year due to a broken foot, Simmons picked up right where he left off in his only year at LSU: dominating. But nothing is perfect, and although Simmons looked great in his rookie season, there are still some improvements to be made.
The first words out of anyone’s mouth when it comes to what Simmons needs to improve on this season is the quite obvious answer: his jump shot. He very rarely pulled it out in-game, and scoffed at the idea of shooting a three-pointer. Luckily, it didn’t hurt the Sixers much, as they surrounded Simmons with players that masked his flaws and let him play to his strengths. Sure, they could do the same thing again this year, but that is severely limiting the potential of this offense.
It was obvious to even the occasional viewer that defenses didn’t respect Simmons’ jump shot throughout the season. Simmons was often given several feet when outside of the lane, dared to even attempt a jumper. He rarely pulled the trigger on these opportunities, and as a result, the offense was at times pigeon-holed into forced shots from other players. I’m not saying Simmons needs to abandon his style of finishing at the basket, but even the possibility of pulling up from mid-range or three-point territory would make the offense that much better.
It’s not a secret that Simmons didn’t shoot a real three-pointer all season. Every fan base in the NBA is sure to remind all of Philadelphia. There is still no answer as to why that was the case, but it sure isn’t because he is physically unable to, like another certain first overall pick had been.
As this video from Keith Pompey shows, Simmons can, in fact, shoot a basketball. Who knew! In all seriousness, the form does look improved. The elbow is tucked, and he releases the ball at its highest point. If he can translate that form to the real games, then he should feel comfortable at least attempting shots. The Sixers don’t need him to be a lights out shooter, but at least being a threat of doing something besides driving the lane would be a nice addition to his game.
If Ben Simmons wants to take the next step towards super-stardom, the obvious decision is to attempt some shots outside of the paint. No one needs to mistake him for JJ Redick, but being able to shoot the ball comfortably from anywhere on the court seems like a nice thing to lean on when all else fails. Don’t worry about the results. Just shoot, shoot some more, and maybe even shoot a little bit after that. Becoming a threat in all facets of the offense will make Simmons even tougher to defend than he is right now. Now, that is a scary thought.