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As a standard rule, you should probably never get too excited about a team because of a preseason performance. Unless that team is the Philadelphia 76ers and that performance is Ben Simmons making a 3-pointer.
In that event, you might have a reason to be excited.
The star point guard made everyone’s dreams come true on Tuesday, connecting from deep in the final seconds of the first half of the team’s preseason game against China’s Guangzhou Loong Lions for his first three-pointer in a Sixers uniform. Really.
The Sixers and their fans reacted how you might expect. Joel Embiid immediately embraced Simmons with a hug, the rest of the team jumped off its feet as the ball went in and the entire Wells Fargo Center gave an extended standing ovation. A couple of hours later, Simmons was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter worldwide.
Simmons finished with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds, seven assists and three turnovers in a 144-86 win.
Before Tuesday, Simmons had not made a 3-pointer in any preseason, regular season or postseason game, going 0 for 21 across two seasons on mostly desperation heaves as time runs out. He had barely ventured beyond the paint.
It’s been rough enough that it has even been suggested Simmons is shooting with the wrong hand. Despite those limits, the 23-year-old has won Rookie of the Year and All-Star honors while establishing himself as one of the NBA’s premier young talents. Just imagine what could happen if he adds a legit outside shot.
Is Ben Simmons really going to start making 3-pointers regularly?
Simmons’ lack of production from deep has long been the painfully obvious next step for the talented point guard to unlock his potential as an NBA superstar. Even just being able to make a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer when left alone on the perimeter would give the Sixers an enormous amount of options to work with.
Simmons provided hope to Sixers fans this summer that he might be taking that step when video emerged of him making a number of jump shots in a pick-up game.
Now Simmons has made a 3-pointer on an NBA floor, though against a non-NBA opponent in a game that doesn’t count.
It still remains to be seen if Simmons will be attempting these same jumpers in the regular season, but this is already yet another reason to be excited about a Sixers team considered one of the clear favorites in the Eastern Conference.
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