Ben Simmons’ Jumpshot Determines “The Process”

Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons (25) gestures from the court during an NBA Summer League game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons (25) gestures from the court during an NBA Summer League game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Ben Simmons is a skilled basketball player and all-around athlete, but his jump shot could dictate whether or not the Philadelphia 76ers see success.

Without a doubt  jump-shooting is the single skill that will determine Ben Simmons’ NBA future. The difference between a broken jumpshot to even an average one would be huge for Simmons. It could be the difference between being an All-Star one or two times, to being a first ballot Hall-of-Famer.

With that said, the difference between having a one or two time All-Star on your team and having an all-time great/first ballot Hall-of-Famer could mean the difference between having a dynasty with multiple championships or no championships at all.

While Simmons does almost everything well outside of jump-shooting, he still needs to get better at it because the rest of his game depends on it. Think of it like this — You could have every single body part you’re supposed to have except for your toes on one foot. With only one foot having toes, you’d still be pretty mobile. But if you are being chased by a serious threat, you won’t run anywhere nearly as fast as if you had all ten toes and your balance would be way off leading to you being caught. This would lead to the rest of your body being harmed.

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It’s the same thing with Simmons’ jump-shot and the rest of his game. If he’s not a threat to shoot and score from his jumper, the defender will just sag off and his drive game would be severely affected. To have his most reliable way of scoring to be crippled like that would be very bad.

After that, it would just be a domino affect. If he couldn’t drive to the basket as well, then the other defenders would stick to their man more and Simmons’ amazing drive-and-kick game would be limited as well. The domino effect would spell danger for the rest of Simmons’ offensive game.

The pump fake is one of the greatest tricks in the book to get a defender up in the air and foul you and it can be a great tool to get past a defender. But if Simmons is not a threat to shoot at all, the defender is much less likely to go for the fake and the move would be useless. When Simmons tries to drive to the rim despite the defender sagging off, it often leads to very bad shot selection or turnovers whether it’s by a bad pass or getting the ball stolen while trying to dribble in traffic.

Once defenders have to guard Simmons closer like D’Angelo Russell does in the clip below, Simmons will be able to pull off much more passes like these:

Simmons’ passing is definitely his best quality. That’s for certain after a few summer league games. Simmons played in the post much more at LSU but in this Summer League the 76ers are using him as much more of a perimeter player and putting the ball in his hands more. This has led to Simmons showcasing much more of his passing game and he’s an even better passer than I expected.

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Not to overreact, because the regular season hasn’t even started, but how many of the starting NBA point guards are dropping dimes the way Simmons does on a consistent basis? The only guys I can think of are Ricky Rubio, Chris Paul, and Rajon Rondo off the top of my head. Simmons is also 6-0 so he can see much higher over the defense than those other guys.

With all of that said, his elite vision will mean a lot less if the defense is packed in because of his shot. To have the best part of his game limited because of another part would be catastrophic. He has to become a threat to score outside of the paint for himself and the team.

The Philadelphia 76ers other young stars would also benefit from Simmons’ improving his jumpshot. Playing with guys like Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor whose bread and butter is scoring down low, they can never have too many floor spacers on the court with them. For a Simmons-Okafor-Embiid lineup to ever work, Simmons must become a capable shooter.

These three guys are the 76ers highest potential players (you can throw Nerlens Noel in that mix as well) and if they can’t be cohesive then it really lowers the odds of winning a championship someday and that’s what the end result of “The Process” was all about: Winning championships and not settling for less.

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If I had to make a to-do list for the 76ers in the next four years, making sure Simmons develops a reliable jumpshot would far and away be the first and most important thing on the list. Even ahead of Embiid’s health. Simmons’ shot is the key that will unlock the full potential to his individual game, and the key to unlock the 76ers potential as a future dynasty. The success or failure of “The Process” will most likely depend on one 19 year old’s ability to shoot the basketball at an average rate. No pressure Ben.