2. Ben Simmons needs to work on his shot
The glaring flaw in Ben Simmons’ game is unlike any other. Players have struggled to shoot from beyond the arc. Few if any, however, have played through their deficiencies quite like the Australian All-Star.
Through two NBA seasons, Simmons has attempted a grand total of 16 3-pointers, making none of them. Players who can’t shoot are sagged off of. Those who refuse to shoot are completely ignored, and that is the crux of what ails both Simmons and the Sixers at the offensive end.
When he’s on the court, Philly essentially plays four-on-five offensively. He has little room to penetrate and his presence makes everything more difficult for his teammates, specifically Joel Embiid.
Despite shooting 4.1 attempts per game from distance this past season, Embiid is not a good outside shooter. Yet he’s forced out to the perimeter at times in an attempt to at least somewhat space the floor because his point guard is unable to himself. This essentially bails defenses out by taking him out of his comfort zone near the rim.
Simmons dominates during the regular season, but has disappeared at crucial points in consecutive playoff appearances. The games slow down and defenses game plan to stop him. He needs to be playable in the half-court setting, starting with being able to hit a jump shot.
Nobody’s expecting (or asking) Simmons to become a 40.0 percent 3-point shooter overnight. What truly frustrated Sixers fans, though, was the utter lack of progress from his rookie to his sophomore campaign. He works on those shots before games and during practice, but what good is that if he never musters up the courage to build in-game reps?
He may never garner much respect from the outside, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t work toward getting there. It’s not going to be an easy process, but if Simmons truly wants to win at the highest level, he knows in his heart it’s a struggle he’ll have to push through.