With the All Star line up about to be announced there are some pretty stinging feedback on Ben.
ESPN’s NBA reporter Zach Lowe and The Ringer’s Bill Simmons discussed Eastern Conference All Star voting on the latest Lowe Post Podcast, with some interesting talking points surrounding Simmons’ chances.
“I just don’t know what to do with Ben Simmons, I would classify him as more of a front court player than a guard,” Lowe said.
“He can’t shoot, like at all.
“He’s just a very strange player and you always get the push back, like when I ask coaches in particular about if he could be an All Star, (they say) ‘He’s a rookie, he’s got to earn the All Star, you can’t just put a rookie in All Star.’
“I just have no idea what to do with Ben Simmons.”
It was then over to Bill Simmons, who said Philly’s young gun had plateaued.
Simmons drives in a game against the LA Clippers.
Simmons drives in a game against the LA Clippers.Source:AFP
“He’s tailed off a little bit and I think it’s more because teams have been able to watch him now and they’ve game planned him a little bit, but the lack of shooting is just a problem,” Simmons said.
“We talk about the 50-40-90 club, he is in the 50-0-50 club. His free throw shooting is almost worse than his field goal percentage and he can’t shoot from three obviously at all.
“He’s such a good basketball player that he’s figured out how to work around it, but at some point there’s going to be a reckoning.
“If you can’t shoot and you’re the team’s best ball handler, that’s a major disadvantage with the way basketball is being played now.
“In the Rockets-Clippers game, the Rockets took like 50 threes so if you’re going to have your ball handler who can’t shoot threes, you don’t have anything in common with the league anymore and I don’t know how they fix that.”
It’s stinging criticism for Ben Simmons who has comfortably become Australia’s favourite athlete over the past three months.
The bad news however is that it’s impossible to argue with the points they’ve raised.
Simmons’ shooting woes have plagued his rookie campaign and, after 39 games this season, his averages don’t make for pretty viewing.
From the field he has an average of 51.3 per cent while from the free throw line he’s currently sitting at 55.6 per cent.
Of the 106 qualified players* listed under the free throw percentage statistic, Simmons is ranked as number 105.
Simmons has copped plenty of flack for his inability to shoot with any range.
Simmons has copped plenty of flack for his inability to shoot with any range.Source:AFP
Adding to the chorus of critics, NBCS’s Amy Kane and Marshall Harris discussed why the Aussie will miss out.
“The reason he won’t make it is because he didn’t get up to second in the fan voting and the players and coaches are not going to vote for him,” Kane said.
“Forget about the players, he’s not going to be a starter and that was the only way he was going to get in,” Harris added.
The hard part for Simmons is the fact that he is listed in the guard category and with only two spots available for guards in the hands of the coaches, he has a tough list to beat out.
Victor Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers is enjoying a breakout season while Washington Wizards player Bradley Beal has thrived without his running mate John Wall.
“He’s punished for being a guard because there are only two starting spots and two reserve spots and then two wildcard spots,” Harris said.
All Star starters are set to be announced tomorrow (January 19) at 10am, with the top five Eastern Conference players in the fan vote being: Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid.
For Simmons, he’ll learn his fate on January 24 at 10am when the All Star reserves will be announced.
Will Australian NBA history be made or will Simmons be dealt a cruel hand by the coaches and be forced to watch on from the sidelines?
*To qualify, a player must be on pace for 125 free throws made.