Ben Simmons has made the All-Star team each of the last three seasons. Last year, he was an All-NBA third-team selection as well as an All-Defensive first-team selection. At only 24 years old, it’s hard to imagine that Simmons has peaked. However, his lack of improvement on the offensive end has caused him to stagnate. Ultimately, it may be time to accept that he is nothing more than a low-end All-Star.
Ben Simmons has peaked
Decline from Rookie Season
In Ben Simmon’s first season in the NBA (2016-17) he won the Rookie of the Year award. He averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.2 assists. He went 0-11 shooting 3-pointers for the whole season. Despite the concern for not having a 3-point shot, this was something the Philadelphia 76ers would work with him on. He also shot 56% from the free-throw line, another area that needed improvement.
Now the year is 2021. Simmons is averaging 14.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists. He so far this year has taken 10 3-pointers. He is shooting 60.6% from the foul line. With him regressing offensively, the 76ers have to be concerned.
These numbers haven’t been talked about because of the accolades Simmons has won and the circumstances surrounding the 76ers. The 76ers are currently in first place in the Eastern Conference. Simmons is in the running for Defensive Player of the Year and made the All-Star team this season. While Simmons has taken a backseat to MVP candidate Joel Embiid, one could argue that he is a third option on offense behind Tobias Harris. Harris right now is averaging 19.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Remember, in the summer of 2019, the 76ers gave Simmons a five-year, $167 million max contract extension. With Philadephia paying Simmons over $30 million for the next four seasons after this year, they are married to him.
Lack of Improvement Offensively
While his lack of 3-point shooting has been talked about incessantly over sports talk shows, it really is a problem. If you look at all of the NBA’s elite players, especially guards, they can score from anywhere. Even a poor shooting point guard like Russell Westbrook has to keep defenses honest with his shot. The NBA community knows by now that Simmons has refused to change his play style. But it has to be said that his stubbornness has prevented him from becoming an all-time great player.
Besides his non-existent jump shot, his lack of improvement as a playmaker is also worrisome. After his rookie season, it looked like Simmons could be the next Magic Johnson. A 6-foot-10-inch point guard who could average double-digit assists. But even now with the great roster that the 76ers have this year, Simmons still can’t average the 8.2 assists that he did in his rookie year. It’s puzzling.
Ben Simmons has Peaked…and Declined
It is still a mystery as to why a player as talented as Simmons is not putting up better numbers. As a scorer, he hasn’t developed any semblance of a jump shot in four seasons. He also hasn’t worked on becoming a better playmaker to offset his lack of scoring. Simmons could still be a Hall of Fame player despite all of his shortcomings, especially if the 76ers win a championship. That’s how talented he is. However, he will never be a superstar caliber player because of his unwillingness to adapt to the modern NBA. With him ending another year without improving his game, it is safe to say that Ben Simmons has peaked.
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