Brian Windhorst reported that Ben Simmons, who hasn’t played this season due to mental health, is going to play in games starting in Game 4 of the Nets series against the Celtics! Ever since Simmons missed and passed up some big shots against Atlanta is last year’s series, people have been acting like Ben is an awful player. 76ers coaches, players and fans wanted him out of Philadelphia since he has trouble shooting. However, he brings so much more value to the game that no one realizes. When healthy, Ben is a top 20 player in the NBA because of his playmaking and defensive abilities. This is what everyone forgets about Ben Simmons!
As I mentioned, everyone thinks of Ben Simmons as a bad shooter. And they’re right! Simmons has shot 14.7% from the 3 in his career and 59.7% from the free throw line. But Ben brings so much more. The NBA doesn’t pick someone for all star games and ALL-NBA teams randomly.
In the 2020 bubble, Ben Simmons was out in the 1st round due to an injury. This left Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris to do the job. Well, the 76ers got swept by the Boston Celtics, forcing the 76ers to fire head coach Brett Brown and have ESPN broadcasters Mike Greenberg and Stephen A. Smith saying “Don’t trust the process!” But the only reason why this series wasn’t close was because of Ben Simmons injury status. In this series, Jayson Tatum (Celtics forward) averaged 27, 10, 3, 1 and 2, while shooting 45% from 3. Guess who would have been guarding him in that series? Ben Simmons! In fact, when Tatum has gone against Simmons in his career, he has only averaged 18, 6 and 2 while shooting just 41% from the field. And this series would have also been closer, considering Tatum is only 7-6 in his career against Simmons,
In the first round, 1-8 series, of the 2021 playoffs, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Washington Wizards in 5 games despite Simmons’ 35.7% 3pt shooting. The 76ers also won their final game without their superstar, Joel Embiid. How? Because of Ben Simmons! Russell Westbrook had been on a tear for DC, winning the May Eastern Conference Player of the Month and leading the Wizards to finish the regular season 17-6. Westbrook had been averaging 23, 14 and 14 with decent efficiency for his standards. However, when he went against Simmons, his numbers dropped to 19, 12 and 10, while shooting just 33% from the field and 25% from 3. This happened because Ben Simmons was guarding Westbrook.
So, while Simmons struggled in that series against the Hawks, 2 of this last 3 playoff series he has been the key reason why his team has won. Simmons shooting could often be a liability, but he is usually a key reason for his team’s success because of his well-rounded play, especially on the defensive side of the ball. So if Simmons returns this series, he may be rusty after 10 months of rest, but we know the kind of well-rounded player and valuable player Simmons can be in the playoffs!
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