Let it be etched into the tablets of basketball history: Ben Simmons has made his second career 3-pointer.
After shocking the world last month with his first, the Philadelphia 76ers point guard used the opportunity of a total rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers to show it wasn’t a fluke. Simmons caught a pass from Trey Burke and, with no defender even trying to block him, pulled up from beyond the arc.
The crowd erupted as it went in.
Those points were three of a career-high 34 for Simmons on Saturday. Simmons remains 2-for-21 in his career from deep, but he’s making progress. Slow, incremental progress.
Sixers head coach Brett Brown has one thought on where he’d like to see that progress end up. He wants to see at least one 3-pointer a game from Simmons.
"This is what I want, you can pass this along to his agent, his family, his friends, and to him, I want a three-point shot a game, minimum. The pull-up twos, I'm fine with whatever is open, but I'm interested in the three-point shot," Brown said. "And the mentality that he has when he's turning corners and he's taking that long step, that gather step, and bringing his shoulders to the rim and trying to dunk and finish tight, [that] will equal higher efficiency and getting fouled. That's the world that interests me the most, those two things."
That seems like an achievable goal, but for now, Simmons’ 3-pointers remain a beautiful snowflake that shouldn’t be lost in the flurry hitting the NBA lately. The 23-year-old indicated he thinks he’s making progress:
"I'm getting more comfortable, obviously. Throughout time, getting more comfortable with my game, just learning my spots and just adjusting," Simmons said when asked about Brown's demand after the game Saturday. "I just try not to force it, you know? I just try to play the game I know how to play without overthinking or listening to everybody else. With time, I'm getting better."
No one is asking Ben Simmons to become Stephen Curry or James Harden. They’re not even asking him to be, say, Al Horford from 3-point range.
The Sixers just want opponents to have to acknowledge the possibility that leaving Simmons completely deserted at the perimeter could result in a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. Just that basic threat, and the Sixers have a whole new set of options with Simmons on the floor.
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