Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is one of the more critiqued players in the league due to him being so skilled and having the size that he has, but not scoring as many points as some believe he should.
Even in Monday’s 113-95 win over the Dallas Mavericks, Simmons did not have an eye-popping stat line. He only had eight points with seven assists and six rebounds in the win. That seems a bit unimpressive and to a certain extent, it is. He should be doing more, but when Joel Embiid has the game that he did, he does not really have to have a big night.
“I told him walking off the floor, first of all, his attacks to the basket were not passive attacks,” said coach Doc Rivers. “They were aggressive attacks. He’s usually gonna lay it in or you’re gonna foul him and that’s what we’ve been trying—not trying to get away from—going through people. He did that.”
Getting Simmons to be aggressive has been like pulling teeth. It has been so tough to unlock that part of his game, but he knows what he has to do when he gets into the paint.
“I just gotta keep doing it,” Simmons stated. “Staying aggressive play with force, a lot of times I get a little hesitant with that depending on how the game is being called, but I got to bring that every game and start with that first quarter, It can’t be late.”
Simmons has not had a good offensive second half of the season. His offensive numbers since the All-Star break have been down and he has not been the guy that some people believe he should be. While he does agree to a certain level that he should give more on offense, he understands his role with this team.
“To an extent, but at the same time, I’m the point guard I got to run this team,” Simmons said. “I had way too many turnovers. I think overall tonight, I did a good job guarding my man and running the team.”
Everything that Simmons did in this one was a bit of a balance. He got in the paint early and he attacked which then set up for him to get Danny Green and Seth Curry involved in the second half.
“Then, the other half, he drove in and kicked it,” Rivers added. “I thought he had the perfect pace to the game and that’s what we need. We need to build on that, because we will show him that. He picked and chose correctly tonight, which is really good.”
The Sixers will now move on to face the Brooklyn Nets at home on Wednesday in a game that will have a lot of eyes on it as they continue to move forward with the season. The Sixers and the Nets have been battling for the No. 1 seed all season and they will need Simmons to be at his absolute best in that one.