Ben Simmons to work on shooting
It was another disappointing end to what had been a fantastic season for the Philadelphia 76ers. Once again they failed to reach the Eastern Conference finals, despite topping the conference during the regular season. While they came close to knocking off the Atlanta Hawks in game seven, ultimately they fell short in front of their home fans.
On Monday, head coach Doc Rivers spoke to the media and addressed some of the concerns regarding Ben Simmons’ shooting ability. He hit just 33% of his free throws in the series against the Hawks and will need to be much better if the team is going to be considered legitimate NBA title contenders next season.
“I believe, without going into detail with what we’re doing, I believe we know what the right work is, and the right type of work, and the right way to do it,” Rivers said when asked why this offseason will be different in terms of Simmons’ shooting, via ESPN.
“You can do the work all the time. But if it’s not done in the right way and the right type of work, you may not improve. After being here for a year, I really do believe we’ve identified what and how, and now we have to do the do part. We have to work to do it. It’s not going to be an easy job. But it’s definitely a job that Ben can do.”
Simmons is likely to sit out of the Tokyo Olympics this summer, despite Australia being medal contenders. ESPN reports that he is planning to work on skill development this summer to be a more impactful player next year.
“We’re not hiding that Ben has to become a better free throw shooter and a more confident free throw shooter,” Rivers said. “If that happens, I really believe a lot of other parts of his game follows. I said that, if you remember, before the season started. First thing I said was, ‘We got to get him to the line 10 times a night.’ And to want to get to the line 10 times a night. So we’ve got to put in work so he can get there. But if we can get him there, man, his game goes to a different level.”
Simmons was understandably frustrated with his performance on Sunday evening, but his coach told media that he will continue to support the point guard who is still just 24-years-old.
“I am positive in Ben,” Rivers said. “I’m very bullish on Ben still. But there’s work. There’s work. There is. And Ben will be willing 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 all the things around him that he does, and there’s areas he can fix quickly, in my opinion, and get better, that will 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 this may be one of them, and I look at this as a great challenge, but definitely a doable one.”