The Philadelphia 76ers have a Ben Simmons problem. That problem is that Simmons will not shoot three-pointers. It's not a new problem, but by not getting better, it is getting much worse. After Simmons made a three on December 7th, coach Brett Brown said he wanted Simmons to attempt one every game. He has attempted just one since then and it was from beyond half-court. Brown was asked about the lack of threes today. Via ESPN:
"Evidently I have failed, and it's something that we're all mindful of, and this is one of these things that is never going to go away. The attention this has received is remarkable. But I guess I helped fuel it, and I own it, and I've got to help him find this, and most importantly, he has to find himself.""
That just sounds... sad. Brown is talking about Simmons like a kid who is having trouble making friends at a new school. Simmons just needs to believe in himself and put himself out there. Sit with someone - anyone! - at lunch. If he just lets his personality shine, people will have to guard him out near the three-point line.
Simmons has attempted five threes this season and apparently three of them were from beyond half court. So Simmons is actually a perfect 2-for-2 from three-point range in the half-court offense. He has 22 attempts in his career and most of them were probably heaves. On the opposite end of the spectrum, James Harden attempted 22 threes on November 16th and he's probably already got a date for prom.
The fact that Simmons, who has such high basketball acumen, can't bring himself to do the one thing that would make him so much more dangerous, is troubling. It's clearly a mental block that is holding him back and will only hurt the 76ers. That is a problem considering his 5-year, $170 million contract extension hasn't even kicked in yet. Philadelphia has championship aspirations and one of their most important players - the guy who is supposed to be their best or second best player - refuses to even attempt to do the most important thing in the modern NBA.