The Philadelphia 76ers sent Ben Simmons to the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, and he performed poorly at the event. Playing in just five games, he averaged just 7.3 points per game on .333 shooting from the floor. While the Summer League is not the same as the NBA, it’s still a bit concerning for Simmons that he shot so poorly.
Paul Pierce took notice of Ben Simmons’ recent struggles in the Philly-Celtics matchup and had some words for him. “I’m so proud of our rookie,” Paul Pierce said. “He’s a phenomenal player. He has every box checked, he has a great personality, he’s a great teammate, and he’s so talented. He’s going to be special one day. I don’t care if you’re a rookie or not, you have to be on time, you have to be prepared, you have to know your body, you have to know your mind, and he’s doing all of that. He’s doing it all.”
The Los Angeles Clippers super-coach Doc Rivers recently joined the “Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year” bandwagon, and I thought it would be fun to write an introduction for his latest blog entry. The topic of discussion is Ben Simmons’ poor shooting, and Rivers’ response is to simply call out the Philadelphia 76ers for not sending him enough easy shots.
Vilifying Ben Simmons is nothing new for Philadelphia 76ers fans. When one of your star players refuses to shoot from more than three feet from the basket, it can get a little frustrating. But Sixers coach Doc Rivers won’t tolerate the hatred of Simmons. After Philadelphia’s loss in Game 4 against the Washington Wizards, in which Simmons shot 5-11 from the free throw line and intentionally drew a foul late in the game, Rivers rallied against his point guard. He even mocked Philadelphia and the media for continuing to criticize Simmons for his shooting.
Ben Simmons’ shooting troubles continue
Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers and Doc Rivers congratulate each other during a game against the Portland Trail Blazers | Abbie Parr/Getty Images In the 76ers’ first game against the Wizards, Simmons had 15 rebounds, 15 assists, one block and one steal in 38 minutes of play. He also scored +18 points in the game, which is second on the team behind Joel Embiid. But all the fans could talk about were Simmons’ 6 points on 3-9 shooting and 0-6 from the free throw line. It’s understandable that Philadelphia fans want their star point guard to at least be a good shooter, but they sometimes ignore how dominant he is in every other aspect of the game. Simmons’ opponents came back in full force Monday night after the Sixers’ loss in Game 4. The Wizards used a hack-a-shack strategy late in the game, sending Simmons to the line specifically for three periods of play. Simmons hit one of two shots from the free throw line and the Sixers lost the game 122-114. Simmons hit 5-20 free throws in the four-game series. Expect more intentional offense from Washington in Game 5.
Doc Rivers defends Simmons for his poor shooting and criticizes Philly fans
. After Game 4, fans were quick to blame Simmons and his low free throw percentage for the loss. But Rivers is tired of fans and the media attacking the three-time All-Star for his one mistake. You keep talking about Ben Simmons, which to me is just crazy, Rivers said after the game. Ben is not a 40 point man, that is not his job, he does other things for your team. And I don’t understand why it’s not reaching our town. Not everyone on the team has to be a scorer to help the team. Ben scores, but Ben makes points for us, that’s what he does. Rivers is clearly baffled that fans don’t see what Simmons means to the team. He is a fierce and versatile defender. He is able to pick up the pace of the game after a defensive rebound or steal and create open opportunities in transition. Without him, the Sixers would not be in first place in the Eastern Conference. But, but, but, but, but… but… shoot it! If I were Ben, I’d be tired of it, Rivers continued. I wish I could do it, because he’s so good and he does so much good for this basketball team, and I keep saying: Mark it! Celebrating all the things he does well, we don’t do that enough.
Rivers has no intention of eliminating Simmons of late
Rivers was asked in the post-game press conference if he would consider getting Simmons at the end of the court if teams try to send him to the free throw line. He quickly waved this question away with a wave of his hand. No, he replied sternly. You want me to take Ben Simmons off the field? I’m gonna let it go. He’s pretty good, so I’m turning down the offer. Rivers is confident that Simmons can and will improve his free throw percentage. I don’t think he was scared then, he just didn’t do them. So, again, you know we’re keeping Ben on the field unless you want us to bench him for the whole game. If anyone wants us to do this, let me know. And then I find out you don’t know anything about basketball. COMPARED TO: Fans of the Sixers should be very concerned about Joel Embiid’s initial injury diagnosis
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