Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons continues to be the topic of discussion as the team continues to pick up the pieces following another Round 2 exit from the playoffs. The Sixers fell in Game 7 at home to the Atlanta Hawks and Simmons was very passive in those games.
Simmons only averaged 6.4 shot attempts in the series and it is probably due to the fact that he shot 33.3% from the foul line in the series and he did not want to risk being fouled and having to go to the line. It was clear that Simmons’ confidence was shaken a bit and he did not want to take those shots.
Simmons, who went to high school at Montverde Academy in Florida, played with D’Angelo Russell who explained in the past why he thinks Simmons won’t shoot at the NBA level. Now, their coach, Kevin Boyle is chiming in in the conversation.
Boyle sat down with John Clark on the “Takeoff with John Clark” podcast and he gives his thoughts on why Simmond struggled so much against the Hawks:
I think it’s more a mental thing than physical thing. I know there’s some things that had to be cleaned up there. I thought his shot was pretty good coming out of high school. He had a slight slant to the left, but very slight and when he first got to Philly, I don’t know what really happened, but his form changed to technically not correct. I think trying to maybe straighten him out too much of his arm, ended up opening his arm up and it didn’t look good,and I think he lost confidence. The way that he looked and also the result, you start getting some criticism so you stop doing stuff that people are going to criticize and you get self conscious about it. I think again, I think more than anything, it’s a confidence thing. I’ve seen him many times go 12-for-15 from the foul line 11-for-16, 10-for-14, that was regular in high school, those type of numbers, and now you’re struggling to go 3-for-10.
Boyle did add that if the Sixers can put some type of shot quota on him and force him to take jumpers in games and be aggressive, that can be helpful for him as well. Something to where if the Sixers can get to him and have him be aggressive in games, that is something that could be beneficial for the long run:
If you’re aggressive offensively, without question, you’re capable of getting 22 a game 23 a game. If you’re playing downhill and aggressive, and I almost think he needs a shot quota that he has to be put on and he has to have some type of accountability, or substitution thing if you’re not doing that, almost like a reverse psychology. We don’t care about the result, we care about that you’re shooting, and you’re going to the foul line, we want 10 foul shots a game, we want X field goals a game. That type of psychology that it will straighten itself out with work in the gym with some corrections. Right now, he’s swinging the ball from his waist to the top of his head, instead of really taking it under his chin in the shooting pocket, creating a harder shot. So there’s some technical things, but more than anything, I think it’s a mental thing right now and confidence thing that’s not always easy to fix, but definitely can be fixed.
Another thing to think about is the mental side of the business. in today’s sports world, social media a huge thing, and when a player fails, he hears about it from everywhere. Boyle did add this:
Obviously when you’re famous, you’re going to get publicity that’s not favorable in those situations so when you’re young, it’s hard to handle that when you haven’t had a lot of negative publicity in your career, mostly well positive publicity.
This will be an important summer for Simmons and the Sixers to continue to work on his game. This might be a bit of a make-or-break summer for him as far as his future in Philadelphia.
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