Does it say they believe the 6-10 ball-handler is a capable enough point guard to bring out the scoring-best in Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Al Horford? Yes.
Does it imply that they weren’t thrilled with how the combination of Jimmy Butler and Simmons limited the effectiveness of Simmons, leading to letting Butler walk? Most probably.
Does it say they believe Simmons will become more comfortable with shooting jumpers, maybe even a three-pointer now and then? Yes, but maybe not immediately.
Huh? There is little question Simmons needs to improve his shooting. Once that happens he should be able to then attempt to conquer the bigger problem – the confidence to take the shot. But that may take some time coming.
I have the feeling if you’re looking for those open 12-foot attempts or pull-up 15-footers, you may be somewhat disappointed this season. For his career, 52 percent of shots taken by Simmons have come from 3 feet and in, and he’s shot 72 percent on those shots. From 3-10 feet, Simmons has made 42 percent of his shots. That distance makes up 33 percent of his career shots taken.
Just 13 percent of Simmons’ career shots have come from 10-16 feet, where he’s shooting just 30 percent.
It’s not hard to see his comfort zone. But it has to expand in order for defenses to at least acknowledge Simmons from beyond 10 feet.
I think Simmons’ shot selection will be different this season, perhaps with runners and floaters with both hands. I think his attacking of the rim can be stronger jumping off a foot toward the rim as opposed to stopping then jumping and looking for baby hooks or fade away 6-footers.
Consistent jumpers would be ideal, but maybe too much to expect this season. If Simmons can add what I’ve laid out, get to the line more and make close to 65-70 percent, his numbers would probably average close to 20-9-9. That should be good enough and go a long way towards warranting that huge contract.