Ben Simmons Rumors: 76ers Star May Explore Switching Dominant Shooting Hand
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ESPN NBA reporter Brian Windhorst said Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons may begin shooting with his non-dominant hand as the team tries to improve his ability to hit jump shots.
During a Monday appearance on SportsCenter, Windhorst said no decision has been made yet, but the left-handed-shooting Simmons is ambidextrous and will weigh the drastic change over the offseason. Earlier on Monday, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said the team has a plan to work on Simmons’ ability to hit jumpers as well as free throws, but declined to provide specifics.
“I believe, without going into detail with what we’re doing, I believe we know what the right work is, and the right type of work, and the right way to do it,” Rivers said.
Former Sixers guard Markelle Fultz briefly experimented with switching from shooting right-handed to left-handed at the height of his own woes in 2017, but never made the transition in games.
Simmons took the brunt of the criticism for Philly’s Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks that saw the East-winning Sixers bounced in the conference semifinals.
While the guard shot 62.1 percent from the field, he rarely relied on his jumper, instead attacking the rim for layups and dunks, which defenses grew accustomed to rather quickly. By the end of the 76ers’ playoff run, Simmons was an easy target to put on the free throw line, where he shot 52 percent for the postseason—an abysmal mark that hurt his team’s chances to advance.
His performance immediately sparked trade speculation from both fans and reporters over whether or not the Australian was fit to run point on a championship-caliber team. Asked that very question after Game 7, Rivers told reporters he didn’t know.
Monday saw the coach change his tune slightly. With a new—albeit publicly vague—plan in place, the Sixers believe Simmons can find his shooting rhythm this offseason. Even if it means switching which hand he shoots with.
“We’re not hiding that Ben has to become a better free throw shooter and a more confident free throw shooter,” Rivers said. “If that happens, I really believe a lot of other parts of his game follows. I said that, if you remember, before the season started. First thing I said was, ‘We got to get him to the line 10 times a night.’ And to want to get to the line 10 times a night. So we’ve got to put in work so he can get there. But if we can get him there, man, his game goes to a different level.”
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