It was none other than Kobe Bryant who has pointed out that the shooting stroke of Aussie rookie sensation Ben Simmons needs to improve, especially from outside 10 feet.
He shot from that range 224 times at distances of 10 feet and beyond, making only 69 of those attempts, which works out to about 31 percent.
It seems a bit like criticism for the sake of criticism, but Simmons himself would admit that if he cannot hit medium range shots, it leaves opponents with the option of leaving him alone on the perimeter to prevent him from drawing defenses out to him and providing opportunities to find open teammates under the rim.
The strengths of Simmons’ game is running the floor and attacking the rim, but NBA teams around the league have found that the only effective defense is to force Simmons outside.
In the Philadelphia 76ers’ second round playoff series with the Boston Celtics that jump shooting gap in Simmons’ repertoire is playing right to Boston’s preferred defensive structure.
Kobe Bryant’s criticism is the type Simmons would be well-advised to take to heart, as during his career, Bryant twice led the league in scoring and finished his long career in the top three all-time in shooting percentage.
The 76ers are on the brink of elimination for the season following the recent 101 – 98 Conference Semi Finals loss. Philadelphia managed to get the game to extra time, but they could score only nine points to Boston’s 12.
Bryant said of Simmons’ outside shooting stroke, “Just aesthetically I would say build that thing (outside shot) anew (laughs),” Bryant said on the Chris and Caron show on Fox Sports Radio.
Bryant stopped short of saying that Simmons’ long-distance shooting is the sole ingredient threatening Philadelphia with elimination, but his comments suggested that if Simmons was a reliable scorer from middle distance, the series might already be over in Philadelphia’ favor.