After the season Ben Simmons spent at LSU, I didn’t think Philadelphia should have
drafted him. I did however recognize that he was playing as a Power Forward in college and it was said he really was a point guard. So when the 76ers played in a summer league game that summer I tuned in. Like most summer league games I was viewing a slow, sluggish matchup between two teams where about 75% of the participants would never compete in an NBA game. Then Ben Simmons checked in and everything changed!
I’m not sure if he had a point, a rebound or any assists. What I do know is everything changed from the pace of the game, to how the other players looked on the floor around him. He made all his teammates look like they just got upgraded. I laughed and said “Oh now I get it”. I understood why he was always going to be the #1 pick. He’s Magic Johnson. So for the next year while Simmons was recovering from foot surgery, I’d tell people just that. Anyone who knew the game thought I didn’t. I told them just wait, you’ll see. Then they’d laugh me away or something to that effect.
At First Glance
Last year I was watching games with some of these same people. The analysts covering Sixers games on T.V started comparing Ben to Magic. I was pretty arrogant at this point. These were the same people that accused me of not knowin anything about basketball. It was blasphemous for me to make the comparison of Ben to Magic. I understood I’d have felt the same way if I didnt know what I know or hadn’t seen what I’d seen. See when I was younger for enjoyment I’d watch all the old NBA games on NBATV, sometimes again and again. I’ve seen them all. All the great players. When I saw Ben and compared him to Magic, to me it was simple. You couldn’t miss it. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew exactly what i was saying. “Ain’t nobody like Magic” they’d say. Ben didn’t even lead LSU into the NCAA tournament. I was personally wondering if this kid was being overhyped before baring witness to his glimpse of summer brilliance.How did no one work on shooting with Ben when he was a kid
Why didn’t Ben work on shooting as a kid
Ben’s family knew well in advance that when Ben became draft eligible he’d be taken off the board with the first pick. I’m pretty sure they knew back when he was 15 or 16 years old. So if his father was a professional baller, and his older brother has been a collegiate player, coach and now he’s a trainer. How come no one told him he needed to add a jump shot into his arsenal. I heard Ben on NBATV this past offseason as part of the 76ers 2018-19 preview show. Hecwasdoing an interview. In this interview he claimed that he never once in his life practiced his jump shot. Not once he said! Not shooting around with buddies. Not at a team practice! At times he makes NBA players look like kids with his size and strength or when he puts the ball on the floor. Given that I’m sure he went wherever he wanted on the court when he was in school and it wasn’t necessary for him to shoot jumpers.
Ben’s best skill on the hardwood is his vision. It’s a skill that really can’t be taught. Whether Magic Johnson or Wayne Gretzky. It’s rare to have vision like that. No matter what the sport this talent is rare and at a premium because you have it or you don’t, and most don’t. Now given that his best asset is court vision, it’s fair to say when Ben got to the league he was always planning to be a point guard. With his. vision, Athleticism, and agility at his size to maximize his talent of course he’d be an on ball guard.
I’ve since changed my comparison of Ben to Magic slightly. I wasn’t wrong. I just didn’t realize his athleticism at his size. Not at first. In person and on the internet, people talk about trading him. I only say now, the only comparison i make now isif he develops a jumper, he’s Lebron James. What in the league would you trade a 22 year old Lebron James for? He is a guard, who was drafted #1, broke rookie records, and now is an all star and he can’t shoot at all. That sentence and the reality of it are both amazing and embarrassing.
Philly and its Future with Ben
The Sixers simply can not trade him. If You Weigh the pros and cons, you can’t trade him. Here’s what can happen. What If he doesn’t care and never learns to shoot? Then Ben probably is in atleast a couple more all star games. If he does care and develops a mid range game that is atleast respectable, then he’s Lebron James. If you’re reading this and disagree you’re absolutely wrong. Right now a guy like Kawhi doesn’t have to play Ben for a shot. So he cheats. Lesser defenders than the best, he can blow by them even when they know he’s going to do it. If the better defenders know he’ll pull up, it always Simmons to blow by them too. It also would change the entire structure of the Sixers offense. In the way the offense functions and what it would allow his talented teammates to do because of it. Just a 15 footer would change everything about the sixers. It would change Ben’s game, the running of the offense, and every single teammate would be absolutely affected for the better. They woud be Champions. Without a jump shot, guys like Kawhi and Giannis cheat. Everyone else stays on their man and the offense bogs down. He has to give up the ball. It’s a liability and a disadvantage for everyone. The good news is shooting can be taught. What Ben possesses physically cannot.
So if Ben himself didn’t care to practice shooting, what about his father and brother? Didn’t they try to convince him to work on at least a 15 footer to keep defenses honest?
The Numbers So Far
In an NBA where many of the game’s bigs are hitting threes with regularity, there is a guard who has no jumpshot whatsoever to speak of. Now given this fact! The fact that Ben can’t shoot at all. In his first 2 NBA seasons, he’s been a record breaking rookie of the year award winner and an All Star in his second season. Both year’s helping lead his team to the playoffs where they previously hadn’t been since 2012. This season he’s avering 16.9ppg, 8.8rpg, 7.7apg 1.4spg, and 0.8bpg. This is absolutely astonishing, given the fact every player in the league knows he isn’t going to pull up and shoot the ball. When you usually talk about a player and say he can’t shoot it’s not meant literally. It means he’s not a real good shooter. With Ben though as of now it means he literally can’t shoot. He won’t shoot, and does not shoot the ball! This season Ben’s stats from:
10-14 feet: 18-71- 25.4%
15-19 feet: 2-21- 9.5%
20-24 feet: 1 -1- 100%
25-29 feet: 0-4- 0%
What’s ahead and what Future will be Chosen
So the plan now is for his brother to train him to shoot. Well why didn’t this happen when he was a teenager? In college his brother, his trainer, the man to show Ben the art of shooting in the game of basketball. Well he shot 28% from 3 and 63% from the line during his college career! Maybe Ben should go see what Dirk Nowitzki’s trainer
Holger Geschwindner is up to. If Ben wants to have atleast an honest 15 footer, if he Puts in the work he will. Considering he hasn’t bothered at all as of now. The real question I have is does he even care? Time will tell if he wants to play in a few all star games or be an all time great!