Ben Simmons Is Not Special

Yeah, Ben is…just good. Truth hurts sometimes. You remember when Lebron was in Miami and he would try to hit game winners by shooting a jumper? People kept begging him to drive to the lane, be more aggressive, get closer take a better shot. Well, it looks like someone was listening, it just wasn’t Lebron.

It was Ben Simmons.

Ben Simmons plays like he believes his athleticism will allow him to get whatever shot he wants on the floor. On most nights in the regular season, he’s right. He gained confidence by playing a diminished Miami team that managed to win a game with Dwayne Wade’s half rotten carcass making big plays.

Now he’s in the second round and he notices that the lane is clogged. He can’t play bully ball against someone like Marcus Morris because of his size and strength. Passing lanes are diminished because everyone in the arena knows Simmons’ worst kept secret.

He’s scared to shoot the ball.

Terrified is more like it.

In many plays, I’ve noticed him get inside the 3-point line and immediately look for someone to pass the ball if he doesn’t have a way to drive to the hoop. During similar plays, the defender is giving a large amount of cushion that would equate to a practice jump shot. He will rarely take advantage of this and end up swinging the ball around. Which, to his defense, is the better basketball play.

He can’t be a star or generational talent playing like this. He’s not the next Magic Johnson. Right now, he’s your average shook rookie who is desperate to find some kind of flow.

His current game is what we asked of Lebron, for years. Thank God Lebron knew better than us.

Exposing Ben Simmons has become a nightly event. Instead of him leading the team he’s got Embiid and 3 modern versions of Toni Kukoc and JJ Redick making the big plays. He’s averaging a paltry 14.4 ppg and shooting 47%, which isn’t terrible. Here’s where context comes in, the majority of these makes come inside the paint. His assist to turnover ratio in this series is 1.3. His game has been suffering all around.

He’s a rookie playing up against one of the best coaches in the game. This does not negate the fact that there is a huge hole in his game that will hamper the 76ers future success. The bigger picture maybe he’s a product of an AAU system that focuses more on athleticism and less on the true skill of how to play basketball. I also have to wonder how coachable this kid is. It’s hard to believe that no one has advised him that his jump shot is garbage.

He will get better. All rookies have this moment in their career where there is a hole in their game. LBJ didn’t come out of HS with a wet jumper. In his first career playoff run he averages 30.8ppg, shot 47%, assist to turnover was 1.17. The Lebron comparison was a little premature.

Not premature, fetal even.

He’s not Lebron. He damn sure ain’t Magic.

Magic was jumping center in the NBA finals as a rookie. Just for consistency sake during the Lakers title run, as a rookie Magic averaged 18.3ppg, 51% from the field, assist to turnover was 2.32. And he almost averaged a triple double also. Averaging 9.4 assists and 10.5 rebounds respectively.

Magic and Lebron were special. Ben Simmons is just a good player that is a product of a media machine on overdrive. He didn’t make LSU better, he’s shrinking in the playoffs, he doesn’t have next – which is ok. Every Batman needs a Robin which makes sense since Joel Embiid is wearing the mask.

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