Theo Ratliff is probably more invested than most in the ongoing drama between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers. After all, the former NBA big man — who spent the better part of two decades in the league — became an All-Star in Philly and played 191 games in a Sixers uniform.
So how does Ratliff feel about the situation escalating to the point that Simmons may not report to training camp in hopes that he can force a trade? For the most part, he’s just confused by the former No. 1 overall pick.
“I just don’t get him just refusing to actually shoot a 10-foot jumper and being able to be consistent at that and being the type of player that he is,” he said during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio with Zach Harper and Amin Elhassan.
Ratliff is, of course, referring to the offensive hesitancy that Simmons showed throughout the 2021 NBA Playoffs. In particular, the floor general’s lack of confidence during the team’s Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks led to missed scoring opportunites.
However, instead of making the development of that skill his top priority, the three-time All-Star is seemingly more focused on finding a new team. And who can blame him, really, after his coach and co-star Joel Embiid threw him under the bus?
Nevertheless, Simmons clearly has work to do.
Ratliff Wants More From Simmons
Ratliff’s frustration with Simmons here is not exactly a shocker. After all, he has seen players far less talented than the Aussie — who also had some of the same offensive shortcomings — try to make themselves more serviceable on the court. Notably, this occurred during his first stint in Philly.
“Even when I played, we had Eric Snow, who was considered not to be a shooter, but he worked on his craft, enough to where Eric took some of the biggest shots we had in the in the game at points and made them,” Ratliff said.
Snow, of course, was Allen Iverson’s backcourt mate and largely a defensive specialist. He never did become an effective jump shooter, but he also wasn’t as gifted as Simmons or asked to shoulder as much of the offensive load as him.
For Ratliff, that’s what it all boils down to for Simmons — living up to his star status and incredible talent.
“It’s more about Ben to me than anything because for you to be an All-Star, MVP-caliber player, all you have to do is develop a 10-foot jump shot,” he said.
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Sixers Don’t Have Enough Shooting?
Regardless of what happens with Simmons, there are some hoops pundits that believe Philly needs more shooting prowess overall. In ESPN‘s latest NBA insider piece, more shooting around Embiid was identified as an under-the-radar problem for the Sixers:
“Philadelphia’s success hinges on Joel Embiid. And it’s also known that the big man benefits — both through floor spacing and assist opportunities — from the Sixers’ snipers pouring in 3s around him. But Philly ranked 23rd in 3-pointers made last season, and while the team was 11th in 3-point percentage, it wasn’t a squad reminiscent of Daryl Morey’s free-wheeling Houston Rockets rosters.”
The Sixers were definitely less than potent from deep last season. That said, they have no shortage of shooters on the roster. Seth Curry, Danny Green and Tobias Harris are all still on the roster after the trio all hovered around 40% from distance last season.
Meanwhile, free-agent signee Georges Niang knocked down a career-best 42.5% of his triples last season.
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