Rumor: Ben Simmons’ decision to skip FIBA World Cup is mutual with Australia so he can focus on his shooting
Sixers point forward Ben Simmons has faced quite a bit of criticism since joining the NBA ranks. He’s obviously a great player, but many experts point to his shooting form as a point of weakness. Knowing this, Simmons has decided to skip this year’s FIBA competition to focus on his stroke:
Multiple people around the 76ers have told me that Ben Simmons has indeed made shooting his primary focus this offseason. His decision to not play for Australia was mutual, and not a Sixers-issued ultimatum. He has been focused on repetition and practice.
— Brian Michael Jacobs (@BrianMikeJacobs) July 16, 2019
Simmons posted great numbers last season, averaging 16.9 points on 56.3 percent shooting from the field, 8.8 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.4 steals and just under one block (0.8). However, he has never made a 3-point shot in his NBA career and rarely takes shots from outside the paint. Clearly, he isn’t comfortable shooting the long ball. His free-throw percentage (60 percent) isn’t good either.
Bad form or not, Simmons and the Sixers made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they were defeated by the Toronto Raptors, 4-3. Were it not for Kawhi Leonard’s rim-tickling buzzer-beater in Game 7, Philly may have reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
In the end, Ben Simmons is still one of the best players in today’s game. But today’s game calls for 3-point shooting, and a lot of it. If he can manage to develop his form this summer, opposing teams will have to alter their scouting reports.