Earlier this season, 76ers coach Brett Brown said he hoped that Ben Simmons would take at least one three point field goal a game
That one didn’t exactly work out. The two-time all-star has attempted just six threes this season, making two.
So, Brown wasn’t going pin himself in a corner when he was asked before Thursday evening’s practice in at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., during a Zoom conference, about Simmons’ three-point shooting. Last week Brown mentioned that Simmons was shooting threes freely in practice. Still, this is not the coach’s favorite topic.
“I think this is one of the most overrated topics that I’ve been involved in in coaching,” Brown said.
So Brown won’t give a total of shots he would like to see, at least publicly.
“Ben Simmons is going to play basketball and the sport is going to tell him what he should or shouldn’t do,” Brown said. “... I think his mindset coming down...and his willingness to find space and find threes, that has been a paradigm shift. That has been an attitudinal change, a philosophical, has to be internal decision that he has made.”
As he said last week, Brown said on Thursday he has seen a different shooting mindset in practice from Simmons.
“I have seen a player that is cocky and playing and when the game says you should shoot because nobody is on you, he does,” Brown said. “And he doesn’t blink and his teammates love it, and so does his head coach. But as far as going deeper than that and like, numbering it up or sitting him if he doesn’t shoot, I am not doing that.”
Looking for more free throws
Brown did give a goal for free throws for Simmons and Joel Embiid in the playoffs. He would like to see them both average a minimum of 10 per game. The coach will get no argument from Embiid.
“When you look at last year the past two years, I have gotten about 10 a game,” Embiid said. “That is really my game to be physical, to either score or get fouled.”
Actually, Embiid has only averaged at least 10 free throw attempts during one season, last year when he averaged 10.1. This season he has averaged 8.7, the second-highest in his career.
In two playoffs seasons, he averaged 7.6 in 2018 and 8.2 last year.
There is a reason why the Sixers benefit from Embiid going to the line frequently. He is a career 79.4% free-throw shooter, and this year he shot a regular-season career-best 81.4%.
“I guess I am a pretty good free-throw shooter, so I will take that (10 per game average) any day,” Embiid said. “So, I it is just about me being aggressive.”
Opening with Memphis
The Sixers’ first of three scrimmages is Friday at 3:30 p.m., when they meet the Memphis Grizzlies at The Arena at Walt Disney World.
“We know (the Sixers) have a great ability to protect the paint and that is obviously something we thrive on over the course of the season and it is great to get that test right off the bat,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said Thursday on a Zoom call.
Memphis looking to hold onto the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, will be without Justise Winslow, who suffered a season-ending hip injury during practice on Monday. Winslow has been acquired from Miami in February in a trade that sent Andre Iguodala to the Heat.