Ben Simmons Shooting?
Ben Simmons shooting? An All-Star point guard shooting the ball shouldn’t be a question. If it is, it should be one about accuracy, not that he just doesn’t attempt them.
After the season Ben Simmons spent at LSU, I didn’t think Philadelphia should have
drafted him. I recognized that he was playing as a Power Forward in college, and it was said that he really was a point guard. So when the 76ers played that summer, I tuned in.
Like most summer league games I was viewing a slow, sluggish matchup, 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 an upgrade. 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.
For the next year, Simmons was recovering from foot surgery and didn’t play. I’d tell people “Ben Simmons is Magic Johnson” Anyone who knew the game, they thought I didn’t. I told them just wait, you’ll see.
At First Glance
Last year I was watching games with some of the 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 knowing 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 didn’t know what I knew or hadn’t seen what I had seen. When I was younger for enjoyment I’d watch all the old NBA games on NBATV. I’ve seen them all. All the great players.
When I saw Ben and compared him to Magic, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew exactly what I was saying.
Ben didn’t even lead LSU to the NCAA tournament. I was personally wondering if this kid was being overhyped before baring witness to the glimpse of summer brilliance.
Why didn’t Ben Simmons work on shooting as a kid?
Ben’s family knew well in advance that when he 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 Ben’s trainer, how come no one told him he needed to add a jump shot to his arsenal? Why is Ben Simmons with a jump shot just theoretical?
I heard Ben on NBATV this past offseason as part of the 76ers 2018-19 preview show, he was doing an interview. In this interview he claimed that he never once in his life practiced a jumper. Not once he said!
Not shooting around with buddies or at a team practice. WHAT! At times he makes NBA players look like kids with his size and strength or when he puts the ball on the floor. I’m sure he went wherever he wanted on the court when he was in high school and it wasn’t necessary for him to shoot jumpers. Now an NBA All-Star, Ben Simmons shooting needs to develop from ground zero against the best competition in the world.
His Best Asset
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 on being 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.
Magic was wrong comparison
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. The only comparison I make now is to LeBron James. That comparison can’t truly be realizes until Ben Simmons starts shooting the ball.
What in the league would you trade a 22 year old LeBron James for? Simmons is a guard, who was drafted #1, won ROY, and now is an all-star and he can’t shoot the ball 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 Ben Simmons. 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 plays in a handful of all-star games. If he does care and develops a mid-range game, then he’s LeBron James. If you’re reading this and disagree you’re absolutely wrong.
A Major Issue
Right now a player like Kawhi doesn’t have to play Ben for a shot. So he cheats. The long, athletic defenders know he isn’t shooting the ball. Lesser defenders, Simmons can blow by them, even when they know he’s going to do it.
If the better defenders thought he might pull up, it allows Simmons to blow by them too. It also would change the entire structure of the Sixers offense. The essence and the emphasis on how the offense functions would change.
It would allow his talented teammates to be so much more effective. 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 would be Champions. Without a jump shot, guys like Kawhi and Giannis can cheat. Now they know, if he attempts to score, it’ll only be one way. Defenders this good, won’t allow him to the rim, if his game is one-dimensional in terns of scoring. Add a shooting dimension and then he becomes a match-up nightmare. With his vision, he’d be a triple-threat.
Now 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 jump shot whatsoever. Given the fact that Ben can’t shoot at all, in his first 2 NBA seasons he’s been 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 averaging 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’s literal. He won’t shoot. Just doesn’t shoot. 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 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, shot 28% from three 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 and 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.
The ball is in Ben’s court now. Will he take his shot at greatness?