Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons shooting more 3s in practice

Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Cameron Pollack/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Cameron Pollack/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers star has apparently worked hard on his jump shot.

We’re a week away from the resumption of NBA basketball — sorta. The Philadelphia 76ers play their first scrimmage inside the bubble on July 24. All three of Philadelphia’s scrimmages will grace local TV screens, which means July 24 is our first collective look at the reconfigured Sixers.

The player to watch, of course, is Ben Simmons. The 6-foot-10 wunderkind has been moved to power forward to accommodate the space-angled trajectory of Shake Milton’s career. There are several implications of Simmons’ position change, but one attribute of his has dominated the conversation: his 3-point shot.

Fans have clamored for Simmons to shoot 3s since the cretaceous period. So far, it hasn’t really happened — save for a preseason game and an early-season win over New York. Simmons has otherwise remained steadfast in his refusal to shoot behind the arc.

That is, until recently. It appears Simmons has changed course in Orlando. A video of Simmons smoothly draining a spot-up 3 in practice was recently released by the Sixers. When Brett Brown was asked about it, he made a revelatory comment.

This carries significant weight for all the obvious reasons. Last summer, Simmons said he was comfortable shooting 3s. He talked the talk, but now he’s walking the walk — at least in practice. As is, Simmons is a top-20 player in the league. He’s more than fine without a jumper. If he can command even the slightest attention on the perimeter, however, Simmons’ upside reaches the territory of all-time greats.

The Sixers will put a lot on Simmons’ plate in Orlando. He will need to adjust to a new offensive role while continuing his reign as an all-world defender. If his move to power forward coincides with more spot-up jumpers, Philadelphia’s offense could run smoother than it has at any point since Simmons’ arrival.

That said, this situation is still saturated with ifs. It’s much easier to overcome the fear of failure in practice than it is in a game setting. Even if Simmons has convinced himself to launch 3s in a closed gym, there’s no guarantee he will have the same enthusiasm when the cameras are on. This is a mental battle, and there’s still a long way to go.

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While uncertainty still dominates the topic of Simmons’ jumper, this is overwhelmingly positive news. It’s a big step in the right direction, and Simmons has already hinted at shooting more 3s when the season resumes. Maybe it’s for real this time.