Ben Simmons is locked in from deep — well, kind of.
The Philadelphia 76ers star spoke on adding a long overdue 3-point shot to his game during media day on Monday, delivering a statement that is shocking considering his timidness in the past.
“It’s part of the game,” Simmons told reporters. “If it’s open, I’ll take it.”
Sixers head coach Brett Brown said he’s been impressed in the progress Simmons has made in that department. Brown told Philly Voice about what he’s seen so far.
“The time that he has invested over the course of this summer is the best by a longshot that he ever has,” Brown said. “His awareness of this thing in the marketplace, he’s prideful, he gets it. His confidence that I saw when he came back to Philadelphia and played in our gym over the last few weeks just stood out, it shone as if he had invested time and he was looking forward to showing us.”
Simmons has long been criticized for his lack of a reliable jump shot, which has limited how he can effect games. He hasn’t made a single attempt from 3-point range in his career and has passed up even wide open opportunities.
But Simmons has spent the offseason working on his game and comes in with a renewed mindset.
“I feel like this summer I fell in love with the game again,” Simmons said, via the Associated Press. “I kind of got back to who I was and having fun with the game.
“I felt like the past season I lost that enjoyment side of it but I feel like this summer has been huge for me. Just the work I’ve been putting in, I kinda fell in love with putting that work in again and I’ve been in the gym every day working and the results have been paying off so I’m excited for the season to start.”
As for the shooting, Simmons is just blocking out the noise that has nearly crippled him in the past.
“I think sometimes you kind of get too deep into it where you listen to other people which should never be the thing you do unless they’re giving you positive feedback or trying to help you get better because there’s a lot of negativity out there,” Simmons said. “It’s huge once you kind of block that out, you don’t really care, you kinda go out there feeling free. You don’t care if you miss a shot because everyone misses a shot so that’s one of the things that I think this summer I got back to how I was as a player just playing and doing what I love at a high level.”
Ben Simmons Nails Half-Court Heaves in Contest
NBA players can do some wild things in the gym with no defenders on them, but noting Simmons history shooting from deep, a video that was released this week was a real sign that things could be different this year.
Here’s the video that was put out by trainer Chris Johnson that shows Simmons nailing four half-court shots in a row.
Just listen to that confidence.
Sure, it’s shooting in an empty gym with no defenders. But it should give Sixers fans a glimmer of hope going forward that Simmons will be a little more willing to shoot from behind the arc this season.
Ben Simmons Focused on Defensive Awards
Simmons said he doesn’t set personal goals for the season — except one. The Sixers guard said the award he holds in the highest regard is Defensive Player of the year.
“I want to be the best defensive player on the team, so hopefully everybody on my team hears that and they strive to do the same thing,” Simmons said.
He’ll have some competition from his own team. Joel Embiid has expressed a similar intent this season, but added that he also wants to be MVP and win the NBA title. If both Sixers stars get close to that level this season, the team will be in business as it looks to follow through on some massive expectations.