December 26, 2018
The Philadelphia 76ers fell to the Boston Celtics 121-114 in an overtime loss on Christmas, providing more ammunition to critics who claim the team can't handle their rivals to the north, Toronto included.
There was a rare and beautiful bright spot that should serve as an encouraging sign to Sixers fans.
About half way through the fourth quarter, leading by two, Ben Simmons gathered a rebound off a Jimmy Butler miss. He paused for a beat and then tossed up a turnaround jumper from 22 feet. It went in the net.
This 22-foot jumper is the longest shot Ben Simmons has made in his NBA career. pic.twitter.com/xtJHLsaN5r— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 26, 2018
Here's a better angle.
Ben Simmons hits longest jumper of career 👀🔥 pic.twitter.com/C4jXf7oMZx— FootBasket.com (@FootBasketcom) December 26, 2018
This is exactly what Sixers fans have been waiting to see — some willingness from Simmons to shoot the ball. Even if it had rimmed out, it would have been a welcome sign. Had the Sixers won the game, knowing this fan base, everyone would be boasting that Simmons' shot marks a turning point in a rivalry that's been titled in Boston's favor often because of how his shooting deficiency affects the game.
Does this mean Simmons can now reliably shoot the ball? Let alone a three-pointer? No, this wasn't magic.
Ben Simmons thinks blowing on his hands is gonna give him a jumper 😂— ɪᴍᴀɴ sʟᴜᴍᴘᴇʀᴛ (@fuqclout) December 25, 2018
What it does mean is that Simmons should be more confident about picking spots that are comfortable for him to shoot in meaningful game situations. Defenses now know there is a greater than zero percent chance that he will 1) take a shot and 2) make that shot. This is progress.
Twitter, as expected, was stunned by the appearance of Simmons' jumper.
I put Titanic Music over Ben Simmons' jumper from tonight's game: pic.twitter.com/SdR3EY9SBD— Vote The Process (@VoteTheProcess) December 26, 2018
Sixers fans when Ben Simmons hit a jumper pic.twitter.com/caQztrVJqS— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) December 26, 2018
Still thinking about that midrange jumper from Ben Simmons last night.— I’ll Be Homo For Christmas (@yungsnoozebttn) December 26, 2018
If Ben Simmons can make a mid range jumper you too should shoot your shot fellas no matter the range— Jerome (@chizzy_getsbusy) December 26, 2018
Replay of Ben Simmons hitting a jumper pic.twitter.com/4WAYM1TTdA— Nathaniel Friedman (@freedarko) December 26, 2018
Ben Simmons outside the paint jumper??? pic.twitter.com/LinEhl3DHh— #1 Chicago Bears Fan (@haan_singh91) December 26, 2018
santa gave him a jumper for christmas— Colin Weber (@ColinWeber13) December 26, 2018
Ben Simmons just hit a jumper outside the paint pic.twitter.com/BMWWTeOoFx— León (@Champ_Lion) December 26, 2018
Regardless of what his critics say, Simmons is 22 years old and he is working on his shot. Sixers fans should be thrilled that they're starting to see it in games. They'll have to be patient when it looks bad.
As GM Elton Brand said recently, putting the whole issue in perspective, Simmons' shot is a big part of his development plan.