If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.
This saying is as old as the earth is round (Google is your friend Kyrie). Former NBA All-Star and Big 3 MVP Joe Johnson seems to feel the same way about Ben Simmons’ jump shot. Johnson is a baller and had an outstanding NBA career… but something needs fixing with Simmons.
We have all seen video clips of Simmons in the gym playing pickup ball, shooting, and making long jump shots. We’ve been told Simmons is working on his shot and that it’s still a work in progress for the past few years.
That’s fine, but when do Philadelphia 76ers fans and the organization, for that matter, get to move past “process” and see the “progress?” Posting edited displays of shooting on social media in a high school gym against players that don’t possess one-tenth of the talent he does isn’t what the Sixers are paying for.
It’s taken far too long to see any improvement, and now we’re at the point where Simmons doesn’t want to shoot in an NBA game. Daryl Morey, Doc Rivers, and Joel Embiid seem to be done and ready to move on without Simmons over what appears to be all in his head. Ben’s confidence is shaken.
A trade to Dallas teaming Simmons with Mavs star Luka Dončić might be suitable for Simmons. New head coach and former point guard Jason Kidd might be the only coach in the NBA able to relate to what Ben is dealing with on the court. We’ve heard Simmons compared to LeBron James and Magic Johnson since his playing days at LSU. But a comparison to Kidd is one I rarely hear (if ever), yet might be more apt aside from the size difference. Kidd entered the league as a great ball-handler, passer, rebounder, and defender. One thing Kidd wasn’t known for early in his career is shooting. Simmons falls into the same category here. Simmons may not be quite the passer Kidd was, but he’s no slouch either. Kidd developed a very good set shot as his career progressed, and indeed, he could help Ben get over his shooting woes.
Given what the Sixers are asking in return for Simmons, this trade probably won’t happen but could be the best landing spot for Simmons where coaching is concerned. How Ben and Luka would mesh is a story for another day.
Whether it’s all mental, or just Simmons being a horrible shooter, it’s clear that a change is needed for all parties involved. Simmons will be better off once he’s dealt away from Philly, and the Sixers organization will be happier once a deal is done. Embiid and Simmons have never seemed to mesh personality-wise, so Joel will obviously be thrilled once a deal is in place. I don’t care what he says on social media, this partnership hasn’t worked, and it’s time for a change.
Where Joe Johnson is concerned, it’s easy for him to comment on the jump shot aspect of this since he’s always had one. Luckily for Johnson, the Big 3 is going strong as a summer hoops alternative, so he’ll likely be playing in that league for another five years at least. That’s great, because I’m not sure if the role of basketball analyst will be in his future.