LSU freshman Ben Simmons is considered to be the favorite to hear his name called first in the 2016 NBA Draft. It’s not a runaway, though, as Duke’s Brandon Ingram has made a real case as an alternative choice.
The primary concern with Simmons is his poor outside shooting, which could present some real challenges in the modern NBA. However, LSU head coach Johnny Jones recently appeared on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia to argue that Simmons didn’t avoid outside shots because he is bad at them, but instead was simply making smart basketball plays:
Where’s the proof? They haven’t seen him shoot it, they haven’t made him shoot it out there…He took shots from areas where he was extremely confident and high percentage....what (opponents) would do is do a great job of getting back in the paint area to stop him from getting to the rim. When that happened, he found his key shooters…most times that’s a good play. For Magic Johnson to do it, that’s a good play. Unfortunately, for Ben Simmons….it’s not considered a good play because people in the media want to see him take a shot from outside.
While Jones is certainly biased, he does raise some good points. Simmons has reportedly been working on his jumper to prepare for the NBA season, and based on this video he posted to Twitter, his shot does look fairly smooth (and his soccer skills do too):
GOOOAAAALLLLL ?⚽️ pic.twitter.com/W4ReWgjR22
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) May 29, 2016
Still, one would have expected Simmons to at least shoot some shots from outside, but he only had three attempts from three-point land during the entire college season, which is odd. His stroke does look better in the Twitter video, but it’s impossible to make any real kind of judgement on just one shot.
Should Simmons end up falling to the Lakers, questions regarding his jump shot will linger, especially considering Julius Randle’s similar struggles. However, if Simmons can prove that he can consistently knock down shots, then he could very well be the star the Lakers so badly need.