76ers coach fears Ben Simmons will eventually 'kick himself'
JUMP shot or not, Ben Simmons has put together a couple of monster games over the holiday period.
Through his past three games - all wins - Simmons has averaged 15 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 14 assists per game.
Those are silly numbers.
He's also not attempted a three-point shot in his past eight outings.
It's because of that refusal his head coach, Brett Brown, believes Simmons will eventually "kick himself".
Before Simmons tallied 15 points and 14 assists in a Boxing Day (AEDT) win over Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, it was Brown who compared the two.
"I can see parallels of a progressive growth," Brown told media.
"Do I wish the Ben situation with figuring some stuff out sooner had happened? Yes.
"But it hasn't and it didn't with Giannis either. ... I see Ben in a gym and I see it and feel it and really, those words I can appreciate might ring hollow to most because it hasn't happened.
"I get it. I still think it's going to be one of those things that he's going to shoot it and then he's going to do it again.
"He's going to do it again and he's gonna look in the rear-view mirror and kick himself. Like, why didn't I do this sooner? Really, all this talk and attention for this? And so I hope to see it tonight. There will be opportunities to space and look at the rim a lot tonight."
Simmons didn't make or take a three-pointer against Milwaukee. Instead, he facilitated the game on the offensive end, and did things in defence that wouldn't necessarily make highlight reels, like a jump shot would.
His MVP comparison, Antetokounmpo, took seven three-pointers, and didn't make one. While he's some way ahead of Simmons, the Greek Freak's jump shot journey is far from over.
But he's shooting 32.7 per cent from deep on about five attempts a game this season. He's already matched the 52 three-pointers he made last season.
Brown doesn't seem to be slowing down in his public campaign for Simmons to actually test his jump shot in-game - it's something 76ers general manager Elton Brand understands.
"If it's not going to happen in the regular season - it's the time to work on it - it won't happen later on in the season or in the play-offs," he said.
"But it's a work in progress, which I've probably said five times already, but it's true. And once he gains the confidence and realises that's a high-percentage play for the team and for us, maybe not that game but 10 games down the line, 20 games down the line, we'll be fine. He'll be fine."
Brand wasn't as quick to shine a light on Simmons' lack of a jump shot. Instead, he pledged the organisation's support for the man they signed to a five-year, $170 million deal in the off-season.
"We believe in Ben," Brand said. "We believe in his shot and his progression. He's a point guard - 17 assists the other night. He wants to make the highest-percentage play every time.
"But he will unlock another level of our team once he starts doing that more. But he knows that, Coach knows that, and we're working toward that. He wants to feel that he's making the best play. So, when he feels that that's the best play, he's going to do it more and more."
According to Brown, Simmons, who has made two three-pointers this season, could simply be a victim of the Sixers' competitiveness.
Would Simmons have been able to develop his jump shot if he came into the league under different circumstances?
"If he came in under a different set of rules and team expectations, I have zero doubt that we would have seen maybe - not maybe, definitely - more attempts at three-point shooting, as an example," Brown said.
But in a win-now situation in Philadelphia, Simmons will have to put individual development somewhere behind team development on his list of priorities as the Sixers chase an NBA title this season.
Simmons is averaging 14.4 points, 7 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game for the 23-10 Sixers.