The Development of the Ben Simmons Jumpshot

Ben Simmons has shaped himself into a once in a generational talent since coming onto the scene last season. Teams simply cannot find a way to slow down the 6′ 10ft Point Guard from stuffing the stat sheet on a nightly basis. His eight triple doubles this season are ranked as the third most in the league and his 7.9 APG are good enough for fourth. Simmons seems to have settled into the league soundly and has mastered nearly everything he’s hoped to. Everything except for one thing.

Since his high school days at Montverde Academy, the biggest hole in Simmons game has been his jumpshot and three point shooting ability. It’s been apparent that Simmons has been more of a guy who uses his size and athleticism to drive to the rim and create for others. Simmons has never been the type of player to take multiple shots every game from outside the paint.

Instead, his main focus on the court has been to be a more ball dominant, “unicorn” Point Guard. Simmons highlight reels are filled with flashy passes and his insane ability to go coast to coast in a matter of seconds and finish with emphatic dunks, rather than shooting fade-away jumpers or shots from 35-feet deep.

As expected, the league and its fans have taken notice to this style of play. Throughout his first season and a half in the league, Ben Simmons has not sunk a single three pointer. In fact, the only time you’d see Simmons take a shot from deep is if the clock runs out and a prayer would be chucked up.

Teams would take advantage of this flaw in Simmons game and would guard inside the paint rather than at the perimeter. Simmons would take this and either find a way to drive to the rim or find an open teammate. However, the script changed in Sunday’s game against the Lakers.

The second half had just started and the Sixers had a comfortable eleven point lead. For a team that’s blown multiple double digit leads this year, there seemed to have been a lot of comfort that the new “fantastic five” lineup would close the game out with ease.

How comfortable was Simmons in this situation? Only to pull this off:

Don’t adjust your glasses or wipe your eyes, you saw that right. For the first time in his year and a half long NBA career, Ben Simmons attempted an actual three pointer. Yes I know, it’s a lot to take in.

Outside of this first legitimate three point attempt, Simmons has been showing some progress on his jumper overall. Take a look at the numbers below:

Free Throws
2017-18: 56% on 4.2 attempts per
2018-19: 58.6% on 5.6 attempts per

3-10ft Shots
2017-18: 40.4% on 366 attempts
2018-19: 43.6% on 220 attempts

No, Simmons isn’t a knockdown shooter by any means but we’re starting to see improvements. He’s starting to utilize his unique turnaround jumper in the post much more often and has openly addressed his struggles shooting the basketball and his focus to improve on it.

It’s essential for Philadelphia’s Finals aspirations that Simmons continues to improve and develop his outside game. It’ll take time for him to become enough of a threat from the outside for defenders to respect him but it’ll come eventually. For the mean time, Simmons gives you excellent play-making, rebounding and perimeter/post defense. He’s an All-Star at the young age of 22 and you can’t ask for much more than that.

Featured Image: ESPN

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