Ben Simmons Can be Great…If He’s Willing
The discussion of Ben Simmons' lack of desire to shoot just isn't going away.
"If you gotta space and shoot it, you gotta do it," Joel Embiid said on Thursday. "We need everybody to buy into that.”
While he didn't mention Simmons by name, can anyone name someone else on the team that is not pulling up when they have an open look?
Simmons lack of jumper is only an issue because of his lack of aggression to the basket, and unwillingness to want to shoot free-throws. If Simmons doesn't want to shoot jumpers, fine, but then he needs to become more willing to put the ball on the floor, get to the basket and get fouled.
Current league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn't, and still isn't a finished offensive product. He rarely shoot the three-point shot during his first six seasons in the league, he attempted just 1.7 three's per game, going 220-of-794 from behind the arc, hitting just .277 of his three's.
This season it's been a different story for the "Greek Freak", after struggling in the Eastern Conference Finals last season against the Toronto Raptors, Antetokounmpo worked hard, and added thee three-point shot to his game. This year, he is shooting 5.1 three-pointers per game, hitting .331 of them.
Another big difference in their games has been the foul line. While Antetokounmpo is not a great free-throw shooter, he is a willing free-throw shooter - something Simmons is not.
Over his first six seasons, Antetokounmpo got to the charity-stripe 6.2 times per game. This season he is at the free-throw line 10.1 times per night.
As for Simmons, the three-point shot is not a part of his game at all. He is 2-for-22 in his three year career, with many of them half-court heaves at the end of a half or game. He has attempted two actual three-pointers this season - and made them both.
He also rarely gets to the free-throw line, over his two-and-a-half seasons, Simmons is taking just 4.8 free throws per game, hitting just 2.8 per night.
In Antetokounmpo's two weakest area's he is adding nine extra points per game to his average, bringing him up to 30.4 per game Add in his 5.6 assists per game and he is responsible for over 40 points every game for the Bucks.
Simmons is only getting 2.6 points per game from his two weakest areas, scoring just 14.5 points per game this season. Add in his 8.5 assists and he is responsible for about 31.5 points per game when combing points and assists.
So the difference between Antetokounmpo and Simmons is simply aggression and mindset.
Antetokounmpo wasn't always this good, he made himself this good.
He isn't a great three-point shooter, he is a willing three-point shooter.
He isn't a great free-throw shooter, he is a willing free-throw shooter.
Ben Simmons can get to where we all want him to be...if he is willing.