Here's The Real Problem With Ben Simmons
The Philadelphia 76ers won 53 games in the regular season. They entered the playoffs on a 16-game winning streak. They overwhelmed the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs and entered Game 2 with all of the confidence in the world. Allegedly, the 76ers have the next great oversized point guard. However, there are some flaws to Ben Simmons’ overall game. Those flaws were glaring throughout the course of Game 2.
As much as people want to play Simmons as a point guard, he’s not really one. Shocking to hear, I know. Yes, Simmons can run an offense. However, Simmons will continue to struggle against elite pressure defense. Therefore, if the Heat apply the same full court pressure that we saw at the start of the second quarter in Game 2, Simmons and company will need to make adjustments.
For example, by seven minutes left in the second quarter, Simmons was out of his element. His push off on Justise Winslow proved how uncomfortable he was with that “in your shirt” defense.
Even when Simmons shook off Winslow at midcourt, he took four dribbles and missed a relatively easy layup. But the more alarming occurrence was that Simmons couldn’t find the open man on the left wing. That tells me his vision is much better when he’s holding the ball and not looking to score. However, when Simmons is attacking the paint, he has trouble really creating opportunities. Furthermore, the 76ers need to find more ways to get open.
Simmons only delivered eight assists in the Game 2 loss. He shot 10 of 17 from the field and finished with 24 points and 9 rebounds. The numbers look like he played an excellent game, however, he missed plenty of easy opportunities. Unfortunately, Simmons doesn’t have another gear to his game.
Another example where Simmons struggles is in the post. So far, he is 13 of 19 inside of three feet. Most of those plays have come from drives to the hoop. They also include a number of missed layups in transition. Moreover, Simmons is only 2 of 8 from the field between 3 and 10 feet. He has missed all three of his shot attempts outside of 10 feet.
In the end, this amounts to Simmons having a flawed offensive game. Simmons’ inability to even attempt jump shots could be the reason the 76ers don’t advance beyond the first-round. However, the real problem comes from his lack of a postgame. He needs to work on his footwork in the paint. In case you’re wondering what Simmons’ postgame looks like- check this move against Kelly Olynyk in the fourth quarter.
This was just an unbalanced weak attempt that Olynyk blocked. Meanwhile, Simmons had a similar matchup with Olynyk in Game 1. He blew right by the defense for a two-handed slam.
You can just see the confidence in Game 1. If Simmons is unable to recapture that magic in Game 3, the flaws will continue to arise throughout the playoff series. Overall, Simmons is averaging 20.5 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds. He's shooting 50 percent from the field. Yet, the Heat may have found the defensive plan to stymie the 76ers.