Sports Take: Lay off Ben Simmons

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons goes up for a dunk during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Feb. 7 in Philadelphia. Associated Press

By Pranay Malempati | Sports Writer

Philadelphia 76ers star point guard Ben Simmons has been an All-Star the last two seasons and is one of best playmakers in the NBA. Yet fans often bring him up just to talk about his lack of a reliable jump shot and his inability to shoot the three. The NBA community needs to appreciate the skill he brings instead of talking the one aspect of his game that can improve.

Simmons is a 23 year-old 6-10 point guard who has incredible vision and playmaking ability. He has averaged about 16 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in each of the past three seasons, his first three seasons in the league. This year, he is shooting almost 60 % from the field.

Sure, Simmons’ jumper is not something defenders need to respect. But of course the game of a 23-year-old will have room to grow — he still has years and years to improve his game.

And Simmons has already shown growth in his game. After being just average on defense for his first two seasons, and sometimes being a liability, the guard has ramped up his play on that side of the ball. Simmons has picked up his defensive intensity this season and that, combined with his length and quickness, has made him such a force that he is in discussion for Defensive Player of the Year.

Yet, many NBA fans love to scrutinize his refusal to attempt three-pointers in games and the overall inconsistency of his jump shot. There is no reason to do that.

Simmons does so many things well on the basketball court, whether it be driving and scoring inside, making mind-boggling passes to his teammates, grabbing boards, or locking down opponents. He is a huge asset to the Sixers and makes his teammates better.

Plus, Simmons showed that he was working on his three-pointer over the offseason. He even takes three-pointers in shoot-around before practice. When he becomes comfortable with his shot, he will start taking them in-game.

Until then, basketball fans might as well appreciate the skill and entertainment value Simmons brings to the table. He is one of the most talented players in the league and is still very young for an NBA star.

So NBA fans, be patient. Let Ben Simmons grow and watch his progress. It takes time for players to develop into superstars.

Lay off the man.