Is Ben Simmons’ potential worth the $170M he signed in his Sixers contract extension?

Is Ben Simmons Worth His New Contract?

There’s no arguing that Ben Simmons is an incredibly talented basketball player and one of the best at his position, but with that level of talent and expectation, he is also one of the most divisive players in the league because he can’t shoot the ball.

On one hand, he has an incredible ability to get to the basket and distribute the basketball. But on the other hand, he struggles in areas that many think he should have already improved in to the point that he is hurting his team’s chances of winning a title. Now that the Philadelphia 76ers have signed Simmons to a long-term extension, it’s worth asking if he is worth that kind of money.

According to Simmons’ agent, the Sixers signed him to a five-year deal worth $170 million. That is about the going rate for a star player in today’s NBA, but Simmons is a player who lacks some of the abilities that may make a player a star today. One such ability is the ability to shoot a jump shot, which is the one glaring deficiency in this rising star’s game. Not only has Simmons not shown the ability to make jump shots, but he rarely even attempts them.

But Will Simmons Ever Shoot Jumpshots?

To this point in his career, Ben Simmons has averaged 0.1 three-point attempts per game. That low an average at his position and stature, in today’s game, suggests a lack of confidence in his jump shot. But the biggest problem with that small a number of outside attempts is that it does nothing to keep a defender honest.

Defending players can sag off of Simmons and know that they do not have to worry about him making them pay with a jump shot, allowing the defense to put an emphasis on protecting the paint instead.

Late in basketball games, when teams are packing the paint to protect against star players driving to the basket, players are forced to take jump shots instead. With Jimmy Butler gone, that responsibility should shift to Simmons. But his inability to shoot from the outside may force Brett Brown and the Sixers coaching staff to look elsewhere for players to take the final shot.

Understandably, Simmons lack of a shot has a negative impact on the Sixers’ chances at winning a championship. Despite a promising roster full of young and exciting players, the Philadelphia 76ers’ championship NBA odds on bet365 have the team as only the second favorite to reach the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference and the fifth favorite to win the title overall. Unless Simmons can come up with a jumper for crunch time performances, those odds are unlikely to improve.

Fortunately, the Sixers did get in on the free agent frenzy and made a move to bring in NBA All-Star Al Horford this offseason. That move could help the team stay at the top of the East. He isn’t likely to be a late-game scorer to replace Butler either, but his consistency and ability to score from all over the court will be valuable to the Sixers. Horford will be especially important in shooting from the outside, after the Sixers lost JJ Redick this offseason.

Still, Simmons must understand that his ability to hit perimeter shots opens up the entire court. He doesn’t have to hit threes, but in order for Joel Embiid and Horford to be optimal in the post, Simmons’ defenders need to be step closer to Simmons and not already helping out on Philly’s bigs.

At the end of the day, how far the Sixers go this season will depend on how well Ben Simmons can shoot from the outside. A lack of development in that area could spell doom for Philly as a whole, especially given how much money they now have tied up in their Australian star.

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