After we got through the craziness of free agency, some of the talk around the NBA during the real doldrums of the offseason was about videos of a smoother, more confident Ben Simmons shooting the ball in pickup games from the midrange and beyond the arc.
Since he entered the league, the question with Simmons has long been whether he needed to or would ever add a jump shot to his offensive arsenal. The All-Star point guard is elite going toward the basket, but having to share the floor this year with a monstrous starting five, many wondered if this was the time for him to try and expand his range given the potential spacing issues the Sixers would face.
Brett Brown said he would encourage Simmons’ shooting, particularly in taking corner threes, but through the first 13 games of the season we had not seen anything indicating Simmons was ready to deploy this skill into NBA action. Then, against the Knicks on Wednesday night, lightning struck at the Wells Fargo Center as Ben Simmons drilled his first career NBA three from the corner.
Ben Simmons lets it fly from 3-point land! #PhilaUnite
— NBA (@NBA) November 21, 2019
Simmons did hit a three in the preseason, albeit in a blowout of a team from China, but this was his first in an actual NBA game against actual NBA action, and it looked pretty good. The shooting stroke was pretty smooth, he got those puppies in order behind the line, and confidently rose for the shot. The reaction of the crowd was, unsurprisingly, that of pure shock and jubilation that he made it, but maybe we’re going to see this a bit more from Simmons given how smooth that appeared.
The Sixers could certainly use a touch more spacing and I don’t think you’ll see him just firing away from now on, but if they could add a couple sets a game to get him a look in the corner, those will likely remain very open until he puts a larger sample size on tape that he can make them regularly.