Brett Brown doubled down on what he said Saturday night about 76ers point guard Ben Simmons.
“I don’t backpedal one step,” the Sixers coach said before Sunday’s home game against Toronto. “I think for Ben ... especially now with Joel [Embiid] back, it’s about spacing and how he [uses that] space.”
Brown wants to take that space and “chew it up as a 6-foot-10, breakneck-speed athlete playing downhill.”
Simmons scored a career-high 34 points in Saturday’s 141-94 victory over Cleveland.
He scored 14 in the first quarter, the most first-quarter points by a Sixer this season heading into Sunday’s game. His 26 points by intermission were the most by a Sixer in any half this season.
His highlight was a catch-and-shoot corner three-pointer to give the Sixers a commanding 61-28 lead with 3 minutes, 41 seconds left in the half. He’s 2-for-4 on three-pointers this season. They are the first two three-pointers of his three-year career.
Afterward, Brown said he wants Simmons to take a three-point shot every game moving forward.
“You can pass it along to his agent, his family and his friends, and to him,” the coach said. “I want a three-point shot a game, minimum. The pull-up twos, I’m fine with whatever is open. But I’m interested in the three-point shot.”
Simmons went into Sunday’s game averaging 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 8.4 assists, and a league-leading 2.43 steals.
Despite his versatility, he has gotten criticized for passing up three-pointers.
Washington coach Scott Brooks, whose team beat the Sixers on Thursday, thinks that’s crazy.
“Why do you need to shoot threes when you get to the paint with ease, and you have strength and can rebound and can pass, you can finish with either hand,” Brooks said. "It is crazy. I have been around a lot of one-trick ponies who can only shoot and they don’t get criticized if they can’t defend, they can’t rebound, they can’t pass, they can’t move their feet, they don’t run back, but for some reason people want to criticize him.
“That guy is as close to LeBron James as anybody, with the strength and size and court vision that he has.”