Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers has come to Ben Simmons’ defense time and time again when he’s criticized for his inability to shoot the basketball. But this time, it’s not going to fly. The Sixers guard is extremely valuable to this team because he’s truly a two-way threat. He can guard all five positions on the court and is also versatile offensively. But, he cannot shoot a free throw to save his life.
The Sixers had a chance to complete the sweep on Monday night against the Washington Wizards. Sure, it wasn’t the greatest performance from the top seed in the Eastern Conference and Joel Embiid did leave early with knee soreness. But, Simmons was the difference-maker in losing, and not in a good way.
The Aussie shot 5 for 11 from the charity stripe in Game 4, with the Wizards literally fouling him on purpose because they knew he can’t drain a free throw. In fact, before this contest, Simmons missed all nine attempts from the line in the first three games of the series. In total, Simmons is shooting an atrocious 25% at the free-throw line in the postseason thus far.
The final score on Monday was 122-14 for DC. It’s no guarantee the Sixers would’ve won if Simmons was more efficient at the stripe, but it most definitely could’ve been a closer game.
Simmons can’t shoot threes. He’s respectable from mid-range. But this is honestly the worst part. You’re being gifted free shots and you can’t sink them. This is basketball!! It’s honestly unacceptable. He is a great player who impacts the game in so many different ways, but this incompetence is going to come back to haunt the Sixers.
You better believe everyone in the Association is aware of this, too. It will become a common trend for opponents to keep fouling Simmons because they know he’s going to choke from the line.
He is capable of much better. During the regular season, Simmons had a 61% clip at the charity stripe. Now, that’s acceptable. Ben Simmons, figure it out. Your team needs you.