This November game against a bad New York Knicks team will never be forgotten in the hearts and minds of Philadelphia 76ers fans. Ben Simmons is now officially a member of a large group of NBA players who have made a three in their career.
In all seriousness that moment should be a big step forward his offensive game.
What does it all mean?
That half-court possession is important for several different reasons.
Firstly, Simmons having the confidence to shoot the ball shouldn’t be forgotten. In the past, we’ve seen him shoot threes in warm-ups and scrimmages but never apply it during a game.
He’s dedicated countless hours working on his shot, so it’s a mystery why he never seemed interested in taking that progress to the court. Judging by the fans in the arena and social media, many people had the same thought.
An underrated part of the play was his attempt to downplay the situation by acting like he’s done it hundreds of times in the past.
“It feels good, yeah,” Simmons said postgame. “You put in work during the summer and it pays off.”
Simmons will get a lot more love and respect in Philadelphia and the NBA community if he continues to shoot instead of going back to the status-quo.
“Other people get more excited than I do,” head coach Brett Brown said about the three. “But how can it not be a good thing? But if we’re all being honest, that’s the first legitimate three that he’s taken.”
The second reason the play resonates is because of where he was on the court. Instead of being in his normal dunker spot close to the basket, Simmons set up in the corner and was ready to catch and shoot the moment the ball came to him.
Brown adjusted to the Knicks zone defense and put him there to create space in the middle for Joel Embiid. The Sixers struggling offense will make progress if Simmons makes a habit of shooting corner threes.
Of course, his three has gotten all the attention following the game. But don’t forget he, alongside Mike Scott, brought the team back in the game after trailing by 17 late in the third quarter.
His perimeter defense late in the third forced the Knicks into offensive fouls and turnovers, which lead to some open looks on the other end. Simmons finished with 18 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.
He also played peacemaker when Embiid and Marcus Morris got into an altercation in the first half. Before the situation could escalate into a brawl, Simmons grabbed Embiid and lead him away from Morris.
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