Shaquille O’Neal Believes Ben Simmons Can Succeed Without a Jump Shot; Compares Own Poor Free-Throw Shooting

Published 02/26/2021, 11:00 AM EST
Jan 25, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) shoots in the second half against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


As each season passes, the emphasis on three-point shooting keeps going up in the NBA. In such times, it is surprising to see a player like 76ers’ star Ben Simmons thrive. In just his fourth season, Simmons has already gained an All-Star berth thrice. Despite all this success, many analysts believe he needs a jump shot to survive.

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However, former NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal isn’t among them. Initially, he agreed that Simmons needs a jump shot, but then proceeded to talk about how Simmons is finding ways to dominate without that and praised him for that. He compared himself to Ben and talked about how he struggled with free-throws but ended up with four rings.

Feb 15, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) shoots over Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) in the second quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

He said, “What do you do when you don’t have a jump shot in this league? You do something else. I can do other things. I’m averaging 16-8-8, I don’t need no jump shot. I want to be the best defensive player, I want to lead the league in deflections, I’m going to make you work.

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“I didn’t make free throws, but I got four rings. It really don’t matter what you have and don’t have, you’ve got to do other things and do them well and that’s what Ben is doing right now.”

Can Ben Simmons find further success with this approach?

In just four seasons, not only has Simmons amassed three All-Star appearances but also a Rookie of the Year, an All-NBA appearance, and also an All-Defensive team appearance. That is surely an impressive resume for a 24-year-old. However, one question still remains.

Can help the 76ers win a ring with his skill set?

Dec 27, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. (22) during the second quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Simmons is not a 20 points per game player, but that is often out of choice. His playstyle involves focusing more on playmaking and defense, but he has shown he can score when he wants. Against the Jazz, matched up against two-time DPOY Rudy Gobert, he scored a career-high 42 points and was a menace. Although they didn’t win, it proved he can drop 40 point games without shooting a three.

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These all just prove he can help any contending team to go all the way without being able to shoot threes. However, he should definitely work on his free throws. Being a liability at the charity stripe will just force teams to target him in the clutch. If he is able to do that, there is no doubt he will finish his career with a ring.

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Aaron Mathew

1551 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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