The Philadelphia 76ers might be in better shape than they thought with their star point guard already expanding his shot selection in the preseason.
Recently, the Philadelphia 76ers played their first preseason game against the Guangzhou Long-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association. It was the first time that the Sixers new starting five played together and fans got to see rookie Matisse Thybulle in game action and not just a scrimage. However, something much more magical happened in the second quarter that just has to be seen.
for three. pic.twitter.com/BAHKl9CYXP
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 9, 2019
That’s right, Ben Simmons made his first NBA 3-pointer! While his form wasn’t perfect, it was more than usable and the shot itself was solid. Simmons ended the contest with 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. It should also be noted that the defender gave Simmons plenty of space, but that will probably happen a lot of the time this season because teams will dare him to shoot it.
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In the past, Simmons has failed to convert any of his 17 3-point attempts in the past two regular seasons. He also didn’t make his one attempt from downtown during the postseasons either. It was clear that shooting the 3-point shot wasn’t a priority for Simmons in the past, but him attempting it in the preseason is a big step in changing that mentality.
During media day before the start of training camp, Simmons did say that he was willing to take open 3-pointers. This game against the Long-Lions proved that to be true. If this trend holds during this regular season, then he could become a very dangerous scorer.
After the preseason matchup, Simmons received praise from teammate Tobias Harris and Harris was clearly trying to boost Simmons’ confidence with his comments, per Noah Levick of NBCSPhilly. On the flip side, head coach Brett Brown wanted to temper the hype surrounding Simmons’ made 3-point attempt.
Brett Brown on Ben Simmons’ shooting: “I think the whole thing is so overblown. … I’m not going to overreact to it. He made a 3.”
— Noah Levick (@NoahLevick) October 9, 2019
Brown has a point considering this came against a non-NBA team in a preseason game, but it doesn’t mean it’s nothing either. It’s a small, but important step in Simmons becoming a well rounded scorer. He’ll need to do this in the regular season, but it’s a good first step. Simmons may not be attempting a 3-pointer ever game, which is fine, but if he can do this on a semi-regular basis, then he can evolve from a star into a superstar.
Hopefully, this is just the beginning of Simmons’ journey in becoming a well rounded offensive player. If it is, the Philadelphia 76ers could change from title contenders into championship favorites.
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