Just about two months shy of four years…This is the amount of time that has passed since Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons last drained a bucket from beyond the arc. At that point in time, he was playing his lone collegiate season at LSU. On Tuesday night, in a preseason tilt against the Guangzhou Long-Lions, Simmons pulled up for a long three just seconds before the end of the half and knocked down the first three-pointer of his NBA career.
Despite playing point guard, the 6-foot-10 Australian isn’t known for his long-range shooting abilities. In the past, he has been extremely hesitant to even pull up for a shot from beyond the three-point line. In his pro career prior to Tuesday, he is zero for 19 in those situations and has been the subject of heavy criticism for bypassing open, and uncontested shots from downtown. Also, until this point he has failed to develop a reliable jump-shot.
During the off-season, it was reported that Simmons had been working hard to improve this area of his game. Videos of his workout sessions have gone viral in recent months, and teammates have reported he is regularly shooting longer shots in team workouts. With the shot, both the crowd and 76ers’ bench went wild, and Sixers forward Joel Embiid even hugged his superstar teammate.
It’s only one shot, and a blind squirrel does find a nut every once in a while. But, if Simmons is planning to add the long-range element to his game, it will add another element to the youngster’s ever-growing arsenal of offensive weapons. If able to find consistent success, Simmons will be the most dangerous perimeter player in the game due to his ability to score both high and low, while managing to catapult the 76ers’ to the forefront of the NBA as a legitimate favorite to win this season’s NBA Championship.
Header Photo Credit: USA Today