​ 76ers wanted to bench Ben Simmons ​

Wednesday - 22/04/2020 09:43
Ben Simmons dribbles the ball while defended by Malcolm Brogdon. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Ben Simmons dribbles the ball while defended by Malcolm Brogdon. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Philadelphia’s behind-the-scenes battle to get Ben Simmons to shoot three-pointers has been revealed as frustrations with the Aussie grow.

Sixers coach Brett Brown sat down with Ben Simmons and his family before the current NBA season began and discussed benching the Aussie star if he didn’t begin shooting three-pointers, ESPN reports.

Legendary NBA writer Jackie MacMullan has gone further than anyone in revealing Simmons’ mental struggles — and his team’s attempts to fix them — in a revealing piece published this week.

It includes a revelation from Brown he discussed sitting his star point guard. “I told Ben, ‘If you aren’t willing to shoot, then do I just bench you? Because I can do that,’” Brown told MacMullan.

“We could have gone that route or continue to coach him as it relates to spacing. We worked on the ability to use it as a choice to shoot the three, catch and go, get in the paint, or find someone else.

“This was all discussed. I opted to take this path. I think only down the road will we be able to truly assess if it was the right one. In the meantime, he’s a two-time All-Star, a kid that’s gone from a college 4 to an NBA point guard. His story is a pretty darn good one.”

MacMullan, while discussing her article on ESPN’s Around The Horn, also revealed “the front office and some of the ownership wanted” Brown to follow through on the bench threat.
 

 

The article also includes strong comments from Simmons’ high school coach Kevin Boyle, who the Aussie rates as his favourite.

Boyle said Simmons has responded well to threats in the past and encouraged the 76ers to take a stronger hand.

“If I were in charge of the Sixers, I’d tell him, ‘If you don’t take a pull-up jumper and a perimeter shot in each half — I don’t care about your percentages — you’re sitting,’” Boyle said.

“He’s got a choice,” Boyle added. “He can either go to bed at night with this for the rest of his career or do something about it. It’s not gonna go away.

 

Ben Simmons remains more comfortable in the paint. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons remains more comfortable in the paint. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Simmons is also quoted and appears to indicate he intends to begin shooting from deep when he knows he can hit triples at a high percentage, rather than work his way up.

“I know it’s going to come,” Simmons says. “It’s a matter of me being comfortable doing it. Some of that is getting the reps in. I can take a hook shot from the elbow, because I’ve done it so many times, I’m confident it will go in. It’s second nature.

“With threes, it’s never been like that. I’ve got to make it a point of emphasis. I could be one of those guys shooting 30 per cent right now. But I’d rather be one of those guys shooting 40 per cent.”


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