Philadelphia 76ers: “Paradigm shift” in Ben Simmons’ 3-point shooting

Ben Simmons | Sixers (Photo by Cameron Pollack/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons | Sixers (Photo by Cameron Pollack/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers may finally get consistent 3-point attempts out of Ben Simmons.

Ben Simmons‘ jumper has been a hot topic lately. And truthfully, it has been a hot topic since his college days. The Philadelphia 76ers consistently get top-20 value out of Simmons, but it’s impossible not to fantasize about the upside of a consistent 3-point shot in the 24-year-old’s arsenal.

Judging from the Sixers’ time in Orlando, true change may finally be upon us. Simmons has talked about shooting more 3s in the past, but for the first time, the evidence suggests a genuine turn for the better. It’s difficult to inject true, unfettered optimism into the Sixers fanbase, but Simmons is working hard to accomplish that feat in the lead-up to Friday’s scrimmage against Memphis.

We have been inundated with practice footage of Simmons comfortably stroking nylon from behind the 3-point line ever since the Sixers began training in Orlando. While it’s always fair to question Simmons’ ability to translate shooting in practice to shooting in games, this does feel different than his past open-gym exploits.

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For one, the Sixers have run a subtle PR campaign — led mostly by Brett Brown in media sessions — to boost confidence in his jumper. There’s a concentration on Simmons’ jumper, especially from Brown, that I’m not sure would happen if it weren’t for increased confidence around the organization.

Here’s what Brown had to say in a recent interview.

"“I think this area is arguably one of the most overrated topics I’ve been a part of in coaching. Ben Simmons is going to play basketball and the court is going to tell him what he should or shouldn’t do. You can say ‘well I don’t agree with you coach Brown’ or you can say ‘fair enough’. I feel like his mindset to willingly find space and find threes, that has been a paradigm shift.”"

Brown cleverly left himself some grey area there — the court will “tell him what he should or shouldn’t do” — but it’s abundantly clear the Sixers expect some form of improvement out of Simmons. The expectation is that Simmons will shoot more 3s, and he has drastically increased his volume in practice.

The phrase “paradigm shift” should indicate a pretty sizable leap. A change of heart from Simmons, who has even advertised his jumper since the hiatus began. The default for most in the Sixers fandom is doubt, and rightfully so, but it’s clear Simmons has attempted more 3s in practice, with vocal support from teammates and coaches.

This has always been a mental battle for Simmons. He needs to get over the hump — to accept a few misses here and there, and accept the scrutiny that comes with uneven 3-point shooting. You have to start somewhere in order to get better.

Simmons won’t start his 3-point shooting career as a 40 percent marksman, but that’s fine. And as long as he’s okay with that, we can expect him to unleash his (mechanically improved) jumper in live-game situations. This is, however, a mental battle, and all eyes will be on Simmons’ jumper when the Sixers play the Grizzlies on Friday. Simmons is well aware of that fact, I’m sure.

Next. 2020 NBA Mock Draft 4.0. dark

It’s officially time to wait and see for Sixer fans. These scrimmages could involve revelation or more of the same. Only time will tell.