That will certainly be the case again this offseason, after Simmons melted into the foul line – and disappeared from the Philadelphia offense – as the 76ers collapsed and pulled out of the playoffs, losing in seven. games against the Atlanta Hawks.
But not 24 hours after his team’s season ended, 76ers coach Doc Rivers said on Monday he thought this summer would be different for Simmons. Why? Because, according to Rivers, not only is Simmons up for the job, but the Sixers have a plan for solving his shooting problems that will involve doing “the right job” and doing it “the right way.”
“I think, without going into the specifics of what we’re doing, I think we know what the right job is, and the right kind of work, and the right way to do it,” Rivers said when asked. wondered why this offseason would be any different when it came to filming Simmons.
“You can do the job all the time. But if it’s not done the right way and with the right kind of work, you might not get better. After being here for a year, I really think we’ve identified what and how, and now we have to get in the game. We have to work to do it. It will not be an easy job. But it’s definitely a job Ben can do. ”
Since entering the field in a Sixers uniform at the start of the 2017-18 NBA season, Simmons has shown many advantages, including his size and speed, his excellent pass and being one of the most defenseless defenders. all-rounders of the league.
It’s a package that led Simmons to being named to three All-Star teams and one All-NBA team and winning the 2018 Rookie of the Year award. It’s also a package that visibly lacked in shot. outside. And while it often revolved around Simmons being a reluctant 3-point shooter, in these playoffs, Simmons has gone from 60 percent regular season fouls, the territory he’s been in for every one of his. four NBA seasons, at 34.2% in the playoffs.
“I’m not shooting well off the line in this series,” Simmons said after the Game 7 loss on Sunday night. “Offensively, I wasn’t there. I haven’t done enough for my teammates. … There are a lot of things I have to work on. “
Rivers said the team needs to make Simmons a more confident foul shooter – and if that can happen, everything else will fall into place.
“We’re making no secret of the fact that Ben needs to become a better free throw shooter and a more confident free throw shooter,” said Rivers. “If that happens, I really believe a lot of other parts of his game will follow. I said it, if you remember, before the start of the season. The first thing I said was, ‘We have to get him to the line 10 times a night.’ And want to go to the line 10 times a night. So we have to work to make it happen. But if we can get him there, man, his game takes it to a different level. ”
Rivers also made waves in the aftermath of the loss to Philadelphia when he said “I don’t know” in response to a question about whether Simmons could be a championship-level playmaker.
Rivers tried to step back a bit on Monday, repeatedly claiming that he believed in Simmons and that he was confident he could make the improvements needed to help the Sixers shake off the devastating disappointment that was losing this series after finishing the regular season with the best record in the East. Conference.
“I’m positive at Ben,” Rivers said. “I’m still very optimistic about Ben. But there is work. There’s work. There are some. And Ben will be ready to do it. Sometimes you have to go through stuff to see it and be honest with it.
“Obviously, what Ben just went through… I can’t imagine that. Because he has so much greatness in everything he does around him, and there are areas that he can quickly correct, in my opinion, and improve, that’s going to take him to another level . And, you know, sometimes you don’t know why you’re in different places, you know what I mean? But maybe this is one of them, and I see it as a big challenge, but certainly doable. ”