Simmons ready to elevate to next level
VIDEOS of Ben Simmons making jumpers have flooded social media during the NBA off-season and the All-Star point guard is ready to take his game to another level when Philadelphia 76ers open camp next week.
His coach, Brett Brown, has given the Aussie ace the green light to take more 3s this season.
Simmons, the No.1 overall draft pick in 2016, has helped lead the Sixers to the second round of the NBA playoffs the past two campaigns after making his debut in 2017.
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His inability to shoot from outside the arc has been the biggest mark on his game, but Simmons has worked tirelessly over the off-season to elevate his game.
He's 0 for 18 from beyond the arc, so defences often focus on taking away his ability to drive to the basket and dare him to shoot.
He's up for the challenge.
"I'm ready to be who I am as a player, continue to develop, keep working," Simmons said.
"It's a process. It takes time.
"Obviously, people always want to see results straight away but that's not how things work."
Brown is putting his faith in Simmons and believes the young star can take his game to even greater heights.
"It starts here and here first completely - the willingness to shoot. The time that he has invested over the course of this summer is the best by a longshot that he ever has," Brown said at the team's annual luncheon today, according to PhillyVoice's Kyle Neubeck.
"... We're going to encourage him to shoot threes and we're going to encourage him ... if he sees a straight-line drive, take off and eat it up.
"I think I can help him use the space in both of those ways."
Simmons decided to focus on improving his game instead of playing for the Boomers at the World Cup earlier this month in China.
He rediscovered his love for basketball during those long hours in the gym and admitted the criticism weighed on him at times.
"I think sometimes you kind of get too deep into it where you listen to other people, which should never be the thing you do unless they're giving you positive feedback or trying to help you get better because there's a lot of negativity out there," Simmons said.
"It's huge once you kind of block that out, you don't really care, you kinda go out there feeling free.
"You don't care if you miss a shot because everyone misses a shot so that's one of the things that I think this summer I got back to how I was as a player just playing and doing what I love at a high level."
NOTHING BUT BEN SIMMONS 3s AND JUMPERS IN HERE 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/ayG9lzhOoF— Drew Corrigan (@Dcorrigan50) August 22, 2019
"I feel like this summer I fell in love with the game again," Simmons said.
"I kind of got back to who I was and having fun with the game.
"I felt like the past season I lost that enjoyment side of it but I feel like this summer has been huge for me.
"Just the work I've been putting in, I kinda fell in love with putting that work in again and I've been in the gym every day working and the results have been paying off, so I'm excited for the season to start."
The Sixers revamped their roster for next season with Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick gone and the addition of Al Horford and Josh Richardson, plus the retention of Tobias Harris to play with Simmons and fellow All-Star Joel Embiid.
"We're locked in. We're ready to play," Simmons said.
"We're competing trying to get each other better from the rooks to the guys who are vets.
"I think it's going to be an exciting year for the 76ers."