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Jackson Frank of The Athletic provided the quotes after the 76ers’ 132-127 win at the Phoenix Suns:
Jackson Frank @jackfrank_jjf
“But to get to the level we wanna get to, he’s gonna need to [shoot]. So, the time has always been now and it will continue to be an emphasis from me to him. And seemingly, and more importantly, from him to himself recently”
Simmons, who went 0-of-11 from three-point range last season, has not attempted a shot from beyond the arc this year.
Simmons’ shot chart reveals a deeper story, as he attempted just 42 shots from beyond 10 feet entering Wednesday, per Basketball Reference. He’d only taken 83 jumpers this season to that point.
The 22-year-old is a monster at the rim, as he made 71.7 percent of his shots in that area. However, his numbers take a huge dip away from the basket: Simmons was just 58-of-133 (43.6 percent) from three to 10 feet.
Simmons can get by without shooting from the outside because he’s an excellent penetrator and scorer around the rim who also happens to be ranked third among qualified point guards in defensive real plus-minus, per ESPN.com.
That being said, the 76ers are in a tough five-team race for the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed. Four of those teams are ranked in the top seven in defensive efficiency, per ESPN.com, and the 76ers are not one of them.
Simmons is just two years into his NBA journey, so it’s not as if he’s a finished product who will never have a jumper by any means. But in an era when teams are shooting the three-ball more than ever, Simmons must find a way to keep pace.