Ben Simmons knows he has to improve his shooting to take the next step. It appears the Sixers star guard is finally taking that to heart.
Simmons was seen working out in Los Angeles with renowned NBA trainer Chris Johnson, a Houston native who wrote a graduate thesis on “emotional intelligence in minority athletes.” Johnson posted a picture on Instagram Wednesday with his arm draped around Simmons. The Celtics’ Jaylen Brown (pictured below) was also part of the group, along with the Blazers’ Seth Curry and the Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins showing up in Johnson’s Instagram story.
While Johnson isn’t really known for being a shot doctor, he has a sterling reputation as someone who improves the overall game of the players he works with. He starts his workouts at 7 a.m. — according to social media, the most recent one with Simmons kicked off at 6:53 a.m. — and instructs them on fundamentals, plus an intense strength and conditioning program. Of course, there is an obvious focus on shooting mixed into the training routine.
“I look at the player as an individual,” Johnson told Sports Illustrated in 2016. “What’s his strength? What’s his weakness? What can be areas we can focus in on and become great at? The NBA, it’s not about being great at everything. It’s about finding one or two things and becoming a master of it. Each player presents a different challenge.”
Johnson was Jimmy Butler’s personal trainer for several years and served as a coach for the Rockets’ D-league affiliate. According to Sports Illustrated, he has worked with dozens of players and tracks all 30 NBA teams to keep tabs on all his current and former clients.
“I’m a teacher. Some would call it rabbi,” Johnson said. “I’m trying to open the mind of the players to be as great as they possibly can.”
It should also be noted that Simmons drove his high-priced, fast-moving Ferrari 488 Spider to his training session with Johnson and wrote the following on social media: “Less hate and more love, Only positive vibes.”
Simmons has repeatedly told reporters that he would be working on his shooting this summer with his older brother, Liam Tribe Simmons. Liam played college basketball at San Diego Christian College and has served coaching stints in the NCAA.
Remember, the younger Simmons has been preparing to play for the Australian national team in this summer’s FIBA World Cup. Some are worried that Liam isn’t the best person to be coaching him, but Sixers GM Elton Brand doesn’t have a problem with it.
“I would never ask him not to work with his brother,” Brand told Philly Voice. “What he wants to do personally on his time, that’s on his time He works with our coaches during our time. And I have a great relationship with his agent Rich Paul and he also has people that he wants him to work with.”
Whatever Simmons wants, he seems to get. The Sixers are also working on a contract extension for the 22-year-old face of their franchise. He will be eligible for a max contract after June 30.
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