Not long after officially inking his brand-spanking new max contract extension, the Sixers’ 22-year old (for another week) 2019 All-Star let fans know that he would not be playing for the Australia Boomers during the FIBA World Cup this summer. Simmons delivered his message with his own patented seal of approval: the angry smoke-blowing emoji he often uses and his home-continent Aussie flag, via Twitter this evening:
While some fans are understandably bummed to miss out on the chance to see the former first-overall pick play this summer, others are excited for him to be prioritizing his upcoming season in Philadelphia.
There is one angle to all of this that often flies under the radar: will he be focusing on improving his jumper? For some baffling reason, even though he is listed as a point guard, nobody ever wonders why he does not shoot the ball that much from the perimeter. I know! Luckily for you, you came to Liberty Ballers where we have the skinny on this type of juicy scoop.
In all seriousness, it would be exciting to hear that Simmons has worked on trying to change his mechanics. Nobody thinks he’s going to come back lighting the world on fire from deep this coming season, but if in fact he has simply resolved to improve as a shooter and is willing to sacrifice the honor to play for his home country during FIBA it would be a pretty cool development for Sixers’ fans. Playing for the Australian National team would have taken up roughly 7 weeks of his summer, per Ben Mallis of The Pick and Roll.
Australian fans’ loss might in fact be Sixers’ fans gain here. Of course, nobody in Philadelphia knows what it’s like to pay attention to how a former first-overall pick is progressing as a shooter over the summer. Maybe now we will get some Instagram hype-videos from Simmons’ new trainer, Chris Johnson (who has worked with Jaylen Brown, Jimmy Butler and recently uploaded clips with Seth Curry in there as well). We can all learn what it’s like together for the first time now. (Too soon?)