Ben Simmons usually ensures his presence on the defensive end, which is definitely the case on Friday night. In the 76ers’ 127-111 victory over the Eagles, Simmons chased Treyang, who scored 28 points and 8 assists, but had to go all out.
However, that part is not shocking. Simmons is likely to be a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year throughout his career, and he may even win this award one day.
It is surprising how Philadelphia featured Simmons in the half-court offense, extending the game time and establishing an insurmountable lead for Atlanta. After Simmons scored only 4 points in the first half, 76ers coach Rivers emphasized the importance of getting him on the court, especially in the low post.
“We just think he missed too many opportunities, in the fast break, in the low post,” Rivers said after the third game (By The Athletic Derek Bodner). “So we told him we were going to get him out in the low post, and to be aggressive, pass the ball first.
It’s easy to understand why Rivers would like to see more Simmons in the post. The 76ers had many clean performances in the first half, when Simmons leaned back on the basket and the Philadelphians ran without the ball.
This situation continued in the third quarter, and Simmons found empty teammates throughout the stadium. His height (6-11) and excellent passing ability allow him to scrutinize the field and pick the perfect target. These qualities also provide more room for creativity for the 76ers, such as using Seth Curry as a filter for Joel Embiid, which leads to a relaxed air relay.
Simmons is also looking for his own scoring opportunities, considering that he only scored 21 points in the first two games of the series, which is a welcome sight.
“I always thought that when you let him start passing the ball in the low post, he would become aggressive in the game,” Rivers says“He is great for us. This is exactly what we need, with his speed and strength, this is great.”
Oh, Gallinari is not the answer! It was a great season for him and it was maddening because it was like, why can’t this become the norm? pic.twitter.com/YmsMuL1TdO
-Modakl (@MoDakhil_NBA) June 12, 2021
The increase in aggressiveness was the main reason the 76ers won the third quarter 34-19. Simmons had a total of 11 points and 3 assists in that game. He had 18 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds in 34 minutes.
Some criticisms of Simmons’ shooting willingness may have been exaggerated, while ignoring his influence in other areas. He doesn’t need to suddenly start 25 shots per game.
However, if Philadelphia wants to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals (and beyond), it needs a Simmons, who is not just hovering at the bottom line of the dunk point. Getting him into the low post more often is a good start.