Ben Simmons’ shooting has been a major topic during his first three seasons in the NBA.
The 76ers point guard, or as Doc Rivers says, “facilitator,” is compiling a solid resume: third-team All-NBA, first-team All-Defense, two-time All-Star, and 2018 rookie of the year.
However, some will argue that he hasn’t reached his full potential because he is reluctant to shoot mid-range jumpers and three-pointers. Simmons has had his struggles in the postseason when opponents routinely sagged off him defensively.
“I’m challenging not just Joel [Embiid], but Ben to not be worried about percentages, especially early in the clock, early in the game,” said Green, who was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder via a trade that became official Tuesday. “You can’t be afraid to take those jumpers, keep the defense honest. Mind you, you shoot it pretty well. We see you in practice. We see you shooting online. We see highlights and clips. You’re not a bad shooter. It’s all confidence and mental.
“So I’m going to try to take it upon myself to challenge him to put himself in some uncomfortable situations or positions, make himself more comfortable doing those things, and that may be taking at least one corner three a game just to keep the defense honest.”
Simmons went a combined 0-for-17 on three-point attempts during his first two seasons, attempting mostly buzzer heaves from half-court and beyond. Last season, he shot 2-for-7 from three-point land.
“I’m not that concerned by it like everyone else is,” Rivers said last week about Simmons’ shooting. “I’m concerned about figuring out the best way to win, and if it takes doing all that, then we’re going to figure that out. I’m so much more concerned about team scoring than I am about individual scoring.
“Individuals can create scoring, and Ben has proven that he is a guy that can create scoring. Whether that is him doing it or creating scoring for everyone else on the team.”
Green and Seth Curry were acquired in separate trades to help in that category. The Sixers got Curry from the Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 18.