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Julius Erving remains high on Ben Simmons and Sixers

The Hall of Famer thinks Simmons, despite his shooting woes, is still an elite player.

Sixers guard Ben Simmons listening to former Sixer Julius Erving (left) before a playoff game in May.
Sixers guard Ben Simmons listening to former Sixer Julius Erving (left) before a playoff game in May.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

Ben Simmons’ shooting has been a popular topic these days, especially since the third-year 76ers point guard has never made a three-pointer in a regular-season game.

Simmons hasn’t even attempted a three-pointer this season and, according to, he has yet to make a shot beyond nine feet. He has missed all four of his shots from 10 to 14 feet.

Despite that flaw, Hall of Famer Julius Erving, an 11-time All-Star during his time with the Sixers, remains extremely high on Simmons.

“I think Ben has proven himself, he is an all-star now,” Erving said Tuesday during the Sixers Crossover Art Exhibition at Philadelphia’s Fitler Club. “He has lofty goals.”

Erving thinks Simmons brings plenty to the table.

He is very adequate defensively,” Erving said. “He is a guy you want to have the ball in his hands.”

Erving then talked about shooting.

“Everybody criticizes the lack of shooting long-range jump shots, medium-range jump shots, whatever,” Erving said. “That might or might not happen. I think his impact on the game [is great]. We have already seen examples of the impact he could have.”

Similarly, Erving remains extremely high on the Sixers, who take an 8-5 record into Wednesday night’s game at the Wells Fargo Center against the New York Knicks.

“They are a very exciting team, with quality depth now with some experience, so to speak,” Erving said. “I think they have to be ranked right up there with Milwaukee in terms of teams to beat in the East.”

Erving was then asked what he felt the Sixers needed to improve on, and he mentioned the continued effort to replace some key ex-Sixers from last year.

“When you go backwards before you go forward, you lose JJ Redick and you lose Jimmy Butler, so both of them brought special dimensions to the team last year,” Erving said. “They are not here anymore. So now you have to get more from other players. I think the bench is strong, is deep. There is a lot of confidence.”