KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Ben Simmons sees turning into an isolation-type player at the elbow as one of the next steps to his game.
“I think once you get to that stage and I’m able to do that, it’s going to be tough for everybody else,” the 76ers’ two-time All-Star said.
Simmons’ moving to power forward from point guard has been one of the biggest storylines at the NBA restart. After dazzling in that role during scrimmages here at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the 24-year-old made his official game debut in Saturday night’s seeding-game opener against the Indiana Pacers at VISA Athletic Center.
In addition to being a ball-handing power forward, the Sixers hope to utilize Simmons in catch-and-shoot corner-three situations. He has shied away from taking shots out of the paint in the past.
“I’m just continuing to add to a piece of my game,” Simmons said. “Over time, it’s all going to come. Discuss it. Stay in the gym, stay working, and thing will happen. But I’ve enjoyed playing this new role.”
But things haven’t really changed in regards to his impact on the game. Simmons will still have the ball a lot as a point forward in transition and during isolation plays on the high post in the half court. On those occasions, look for Shake Milton to roam around on the perimeter to help stretch the floor.
It is, however, less on Simmons to always have to give the ball up after receiving it on the high post as opposed to dribbling it up the court.
“As a point guard, you kind of have to find guys and get guys into whatever sets you want to call or whatever Coach [Brett Brown] is calling,” Simmons said. “So to be able to run down the floor, and get to where I want to get on the elbow and have somebody guarding me one-on-one, and guys doing a lot of stuff on the backside, it helps a lot.”