There is no doubt in the mind of any NBA fan that Ben Simmons is a generational talent. After all, he was the #1 pick of the 2016 Draft that proved he can be an All-Star in this league. Unfortunately, his weakness has led him to the situation he is in, but if the fresh start in Brooklyn helps Ben develop a reliable jumper and free-throe shot, he could be one of the most dominant forces in the NBA. Rick Barry would even say Ben could be Shaq-like.
Getting to the free-throw line with confidence
'If he gets a jump shot, Simmons will be a problem.' Well, it seems that we have been saying that sentence for the past six years, and not much has changed. Ben has proven he is an all-around threat. An athletic 6'10'' point guard with great vision, handles, and impeccable defense has a place in this league, and there is no doubt Ben is an All-Star.
But that damn jump shot that is so important in today's game is mandatory to have if you want to win it all and become a superstar. Ben has managed to hit a few three-pointers in his four seasons of playing so far while shooting 59.7% from the charity stripe. Those weaknesses especially showed in last year's playoffs, with Ben getting hacked like he is Shaquille O'Neal in his prime.
For a guy that's your primary ball-handler, it is unacceptable and frustrating that someone so naturally talented won't take his craft seriously enough to become great. NBA legend Rick Barry offered his take on Ben and shared how he sees the immense potential in his game. Getting his free-throw percentage up would be the key:
"If [Simmons] was an 80-percent shooter, with his size, he would be like Shaq. You could take him and post up those little guards and he would just abuse them — and he could hope he got fouled. He would be such a dominant factor. He becomes one of the best players in the league."
Rick Barry, Marc Stein
Giving the underhand free-throw a try?
Obviously, a lot of time, Simmons looks hesitant to go the hole because of his fear of getting to the free-throw line. So instead, he settles and passes the ball around, rather than taking it upon himself to get the bucket, especially in clutch situations. Barry, notoriously known for his underhand free-throw style, was a great free-throw shooter, and he recommended Ben to try out the underhand method.
It would most likely make him a much more efficient shooter, but a flashy guy like Ben is not about to swallow his pride and try the so-called "granny-shoot." That's too bad for Nets fans. But still, with his team at full power, Simmons doesn't need to be the go-to guy in the clutch, with KD and Kyrie around him.
You can see the Nets play a 4 out-1 in- lineup with Curry, Kyrie, KD, and Joe Harris outside and Ben inside, playing the Point Center role, distributing and taking advantage of all the space. That's just one of many situations in which you could utilize Simmons, but if you want to be sure that he will have an impact, getting a reliable free-throw shot or regular jumper would be of enormous help.