Is Ben Simmons the reason why the 76ers got killed by the Boston Celtics last year in the playoffs, as well as in the season opener?
Ben Simmons somehow became even more frightening and unstoppable in transition. Pretty much all of the Sixers 16 points in transition were generated by him in some shape or form.
He goes full speed directly towards the chest of 2 Celtics defenders. A 1 on 2 or even 1 on 5 situation - Ben Simmons handled it elegantly.
And as crazy as that is, on defense, I saw him switched out on almost everyone. And he held his own. If needed he could cover on the opposing point guard, all the way to the center. Now that’s wild. However we get to the elephant in the room and that is of course his shooting. The biggest thing for Ben Simmons is it’s obvious that he is not comfortable even taking the shot. In the half court offense he is pretty easy to guard. Back off 1 step give him a little cushion and that’s it. He won’t even try to shoot. All the makes come from inside the paint. The problem is even worse with Marquelle Fultz. He’s not only uncomfortable shooting the ball, but He is actually still practicing his shooting motion. Not trying to hit the basket, but practicing the release.
If I’m going to play Fultz, and I know that he can’t shoot 1 bit, I sure as hell expect him to give me either Rondo type of tempo and movement, or Andre Roberson type of defense. These are players not known for their shot but could do other things right? And since he is nowhere near 1 or the other, it’s like playing 4 on 5 basketball. Also, when you have 2 guys in the lineup who don’t even know how to shoot the ball, and BTW are your perimeter players, What kind of spacing do you think you’re going to provide Joel Embiid to play with? Who to his credit had a nice 23 & 10 game.
Based on what I saw in their playoff battle and what I saw on opening night, I say Boston goes 4-1 again in the playoffs against the sixers.