Thomas: Simmons Growth Got To Occur At The Foul Line
On his way to winning the 2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, Ben Simmons showcased over the course of 81 games that he was a more than competent Point Guard. Last season, Simmons finished the year Fifth in the NBA in Assists Per Game (8.2), Eight in Steals Per Game (1.7), and Ninth in Defensive Rating (102.1). The areas that many people are watching for the 21 year old Simmons to improve upon this season includes his Free Throw Shooting, which was 56 Percent, the worst on the Sixers last season (minimum of 80 Free Throw Attempts) and he shot only 31.6 Percent on Field Goals between 10-16 Feet From The Basket.
Two-time NBA Champion and Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas joined Mike Gill on Wednesday discussing his perspective of Ben Simmons entering his second season in the NBA:
"With Simmons, his growth it’s got to occur at the foul line - When you’re a point guard in this league, your responsibility the last two minutes of a game is truly to close the game out and when you close the game out offensively, normally you are closing it out from the foul line. You're not turning the ball over and you are making sure your team gets a good shot every time down and if you are not a really good foul shooter, in the high 70 (percent range) at least...you’re going to be a target, the opposing team is gonna target you at the end of games to foul you and your coach is gonna lose confidence in you at the foul line. So therefore, at the end of game situations, they probably design plays to take the ball out of your hands. Now, if you’re Ben Simmons and you improve from the foul line, and you up your point production 2-3 points a night, just by making free throws, then that’s gonna be the difference between winning 3 to 5 extra games during the course of the regular season.”
Checkout what Thomas had to say about Joel Embiid, if there is a gap between the Celtics and Sixers, along with his upcoming appearance in Philadelphia this weekend