Drafted with the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the expectations have always been high for the Aussie point guard. He is an athletic specimen with fantastic court vision that seems to be lacking just one crucial aspect of his game: shooting.
While shooting is a vastly important aspect of the game, Simmons finds other ways to make an impact. An effective passer, Simmons is averaging 7.0 assists per game this season. He makes sure to find three-point shooters, Seth Curry or Danny Green on the wing, or Dwight and Embiid in the post.
Not having a shot can be costly at times, but this allows Simmons to look for the pass more. With a build similar to Magic Johnson, at a robust 6”10, 240 pounds, he has a smooth handle and can slice through defenders in the lane. He is one of the three players to average 16 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds. The other being Johnson and Oscar Robertson – not bad company!
Averaging 9.9 boards per game, Simmons is a superior rebounder to most point guards and helps push the fast break opportunities. A high-tempo player, he looks to keep the offense alert and opposing defenses on their toes.
His high basketball IQ is on display every night with his excellent court vision and decision-making. Simmons makes his team better by being unselfish and letting other players shine. A career 55.9% shooter, he is aware of his shooting inefficiencies and takes high-percentage, safe shots.
Another tremendous advantage Simmons presents is his ability to play the 1 through the 4. His length and athleticism make it difficult for players to get where they want on the court. He is debatably one of the best on-ball defenders in the league and is still only 24 years old. Selected to the 2019-2020 NBA All-Defensive First Team, he is poised to do the same this year.
Simmons, along with superstar teammate Joel Embiid, is a huge reason why the 76ers have been in the mix for title contention for a few years now. However, there is an evident reason why this Philadelphia team has not been able to take the next step.
Next to Joel Embiid, Simmons is the best player on the team. When the second-best player on a team cannot hit jump-shots from 20-feet out, this will hurt badly in crunch time when those shots are needed most.
Simmons is a fantastic player with great playmaking, rebounding, and defense, but he must continue to develop his shot and work on his offensive game. If he improves in these areas, he could become one of the best players in the league. There is no doubt that his potential is through the roof. However, until he develops a consistent jumper, he will be a liability.
This 76ers team is one of the most talented in the league and will compete for an NBA Championship. Simmons plays a large role in this squad and will continue to impress every night. People tend to forget how impressive he is just due to his lack of an outside jumper.
To reiterate, shooting is of supreme importance, but there are many ways that a player can affect the game. Simmons is highly capable of many attributes that will continue to win the 76ers a hefty amount of games.