At this point, it might be fair to ask whether Ben Simmons deserves to be a starting point guard.
Simmons and the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs Sunday night by Trae Young and the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks. And Simmons, who scored just five points in the Game 7 loss, is facing criticism after an uninspiring postseason performance.
Never a good shooter, the 2016 first overall pick now is a player seemingly unwilling to shoot the basketball from anywhere, especially in crunch time.
Check out these numbers:
Now, Simmons’s shooting allergies would be somewhat palatable if he had other ways of scoring. Driving to the basket with his tall, athletic frame to draw fouls would be a solid strategy, right?
Well, yes, except Simmons flat-out stinks at the charity stripe. In fact, the 24-year-old set a dubious NBA record with his free-throw shooting this postseason.
Take a look at this tweet from ESPN Stats & Info:
Reminder: Simmons just finished the first season of a five-year, $170 million contract extension that annually pays him just north of $35 million.
So, what does the future hold for a max-contract point guard who just averaged 7.9 field goal attempts over 12 playoff games? Are his other skills (elite defense; great playmaking; solid rebounding) enough to make up for his deficiencies as a scorer?
That’s for the 76ers to decide. Head coach Doc Rivers seemed over the Simmons experience while speaking with reporters after Sunday’s game, but that hardly indicates a trade is inevitable. Plus, another team would have to be willing to pay through the nose for a player with potentially fatal flaws.
One thing is clear: Simmons needs to get in the gym this summer and put in serious work on his shooting.