For the majority of Ben Simmons’ career, many NBA analysts have focused all too much on one facet of his game. Obviously what I’m referring to here is the ability to dress well. Some of Ben’s outfits are insanely good and I don’t think he gets enough credit as one of the best dressed NBA players every night.
Alright, enough messin’ around Isaiah! We all know how much people care about Ben shooting the ball outside of 10 feet. Just look at the replies of any NBA tweet with a Ben highlight. You’ll see a bunch of “But he can’t shoot !!!!” in the comments. Which is true, but it’s more nuanced than that.
Ben knows what he’s good at and honestly it’s smart to squeeze the life out of that until it stops working.
That isn’t what you’re here for though, is it? Ben is currently having the best season of his career right before our eyes. He’s taken an incredible leap in the last month of Sixers’ games. Not only is Ben being more aggressive with his touches, but he’s also adding to his game.
One of the areas that Ben has visibly improved is in post ups. On about 1.6 possessions per game, he’s scoring 1.18 points, which better than Joel Embiid for reference. Now of course Embiid has more post ups per game so that’s why he has less points, but it’s a good measuring tool to see where Simmons is.
Ben has incredible touch when it comes to his right hand, his most notable move being a right handed hook shot. Simmons’ speed gets him past defenders and he’s able to float up shots with little to no resistance.
Simmons has also been very decisive when it comes to driving to the basket. When defenders aren’t keeping their full attention on Ben, he immediately crosses over and bursts to the basket. He’s gotten terrific at using his body to just move players out of the way, similar to a man in Milwaukee who shall not be named.
Looking at this clip, Simmons used his body to create some nice space for an easy layup. Another good reason to use your body is the fact that Simmons is shooting more free throws than he ever has in a season. He’s also shooting his highest percentage to go along with that high free throw rate.
The last month offensively has just been wonderful for Ben Simmons and I think he’s becoming what we all knew he could be.
To go along with his surprising offensive performance so far, he’s also a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He’s locking up top players every night and can genuinely guard positions 1-5. That term is losing its meaning because of how many players it’s being used on but for Ben, no phrase could describe him better. He’s been spectacular at using his size to throw players off, and takes great angles when on the perimeter.
Here, we see Ben playing phenomenal defense on fellow 4th year player, Donovan Mitchell. Donovan Mitchell is a 2x All-Star and he just got completely shut down in overtime by Simmons. During the clip, you see Ben using his strength to get past Gobert’s screens and contest shots. He also never stayed flat footed and kept moving his feet as Mitchell did. Ben is literally a human magnet and Donovan Mitchell wanted so bad to get a switch. Simmons held Mitchell to 12-34 shooting for 36 points on the night.
Ben Simmons is one of the most unique players in the NBA. His size, speed, and IQ all in one player don’t come often. As fans, I feel we often expect too much from players too fast. Development isn’t a linear equation, there’s always bumps and bruises along the road. Though he had a slow start to the season, this coaching staff has gotten him up to speed and then some. The city of Philadelphia is immensely grateful for the work put in by Ben Simmons, Sam Cassell, and Doc Rivers. With the way he’s playing right now, Ben could be the key to a deep playoff run and maybe even a championship.