Pippen: “No one can play in this league if you can’t shoot”

Pippen: “No one can play in this league if you can’t shoot”

John Wooden defined a coach as “someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” Brett Brown is experiencing this with Ben Simmons and his shoot selection. Early December, he publicly challenged Simmons to shoot at least one three a game. Brown obviously tried all he could in practice and private meetings, so he tried with a public appeal. He went all-in with the performance as well.

“That is what I want, and you can pass this along to his agent, his family, his friends, and him: I want one 3-point shot a game minimum.”

Brett Brown

Since this statement, the 76ers played 13 games. How many 3 point attempts did Simmons have? Zero. Seems like Brett Brown will have to come up with another way to appeal Simmons. Maybe a donation per each attempt to a charity of Simmons’ choosing? For now, Brown seems like he’s out of ideas.

“Evidently I have failed”

Brett Brown

The Sixers desperatly need spacing if they want to compete against the best. You can afford one below-average 3 point shooter on the court in today’s NBA. Simmons being it means Embiid has to setp out to the perimiter and launch a few. That takes away from Embiid’s biggest strength – post play. That’s why trading Simmons is talked abou all the time – the two reduce each other’s strengths when on the court together. Scottie Pippen thinks even in the scenario where Simmons is traded and the entire roster is built around him, he couldn’t win.

“Let me just say this. No one can play in this league if you can’t shoot. You’re not gonna be wanted on the court. There’s no space for you unless you are a Dennis Rodman, a Ben Wallace. You have to do something special on that offensive end to be a part of it.”

Scottie Pippen on The Jump

Scottie said he believes that Simmons can still develop a shot, but not taking a single one after such a challenge from his coach tells him one thing – Simmons doesn’t feel ready. Shooting was never his skill, and he is under a lot of pressure to take, as Pippen referred to it, “a grown man’s shot, a mature shot.” There is another angle to this, one we don’t see as much today.

In that episode of “The Jump,” Brian Windhorst pointed out you sometimes have to do things on the court to make your teammates play better. He asked Scottie did he and Michael talk about developing their skills and style of play to suit each other? The answer was yes. If by launching threes and shooting, let’s say, 28% of them, defenders have to cover Simmons more, that opens up space for Embiid to operate in.

Pippen said that Simmons would need more time to develop a decent shot, and it may even take three years to get there. That reality is something the 76ers need to face and decide can they win the Larry O’ if Embiid needs to be at the three-point line because Simmons can’t shoot. They will have “only” two years under contract sooner than you think.