It hasn’t even been a full 24 hours since Ben Simmons buried his first career 3-pointer in a preseason game against a team that honestly had no business being on the same floor as the Philadelphia 76ers, other than a promotional one.
Simmons’ only 3-point attempt of the game did no more than tickle twine, but it rattled the bowels of the Wells Fargo Center as thousands of fans roared and cheered for Simmons:
🎥 𝐯𝐬. 𝐋𝐎𝐎𝐍𝐆 𝐋𝐈𝐎𝐍𝐒 🎥 pic.twitter.com/QKDElpwcGj
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 9, 2019
The shot in itself was worth the three points it should have, but in the eyes of a fan base that has been long prodding the 23-year-old to extend his game beyond the paint — it was worth a million.
The questions remain, though: Will this be the first and last trey that we’ll see from Ben Simmons? Will he retire undefeated after going 1-for-1 during Tuesday’s preseason game?
While time will answer those questions shortly, the biggest challenge will be how the 6-foot-10 point forward addresses and reacts to his woes and how and if he is able to bounce back from them.
Going 1-for-1 is sweet, until he’s asked to take another, and then another, and the shots no longer fall. Misses can often result in a lack of confidence, and therefore a reluctance to take shots, much like he did in his first two seasons. Simmons will have to progress from a reluctant shooter into a willing one before he can even start worrying about his percentages or his shot selection.
It is the willingness to shoot that will demand attention from his opposition and ultimately open up shot fakes and drives to the basket. Simmons might be wide open during the first few weeks of the regular season, and missing those shots will test his confidence level — once he’s viewed as a potential perimeter option, he will have to deal with his shot selection and being smart with his takes.
Ultimately, head coach Brett Brown is not expecting Simmons to be the JJ Redick they will miss this season, but rather just a willing perimeter option he can count on to launch when open:
“He made a shot. Good. And that’s kind of personally the extent of it for me,” Brown told reporters after the game, according to Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I think the whole thing is so overblown. I think in general, it’s so inflated the attention, and that’s what I think. … He’s young, we got a long season. I’m just not gonna react over it, and I really mean that. He made a three.”
Many Hall of Famers are convinced the issue at hand is the confidence to take the shots, rather than the accuracy. I can’t beg to differ — as long as he’s willing to take them, more will eventually drop through the hoop.