76ers

Ben Simmons answers question about jumper — both on and off the floor

Ben Simmons answers question about jumper — both on and off the floor

CAMDEN, N.J. — Questions about Ben Simmons’ shot aren’t going away.

In fact, they’ll likely only intensify as we get closer to the season and the fan base doesn’t see the 23-year-old All-Star take a jumper in a game setting.

Three days into camp, Simmons has answered many, many questions about the subject. He didn’t appear to be happy with the latest question on Day 3 of camp Thursday.

When pressed if he’d made a three in camp, he answered very matter-of-factly.

“Have I made a three? Are you talking about in practice? Yeah.”

His teammates have been supportive. When asked how everyone looked, Tobias Harris gave a serious response before joking: “And Ben hit 20 threes today.”

Of all the questions surrounding the Sixers, it may be the question. You can probably put it ahead of any questions about Joel Embiid’s health or even if the Sixers have enough talent to make it to the Finals.

And let’s face it, it’s because it is critical to the Sixers’ success. Yes, Simmons is an extraordinary talent. He’s an All-Star and could very well factor into the Defensive Player of the Year discussion one day soon. But his being relegated to the “dunker spot” on the floor and having the ball taken out of his hands in favor of Jimmy Butler in the postseason hurt the Sixers.

The conversation truly has taken on a life of its own.

You know, because the groundswell of this thing is bizarre,” Brett Brown said. “I will say, and maybe you don't agree, but I'll say it, we got to be careful that like this still isn't the thing. You know, to me, he is a 23-year-old All-Star. It's hugely important, we understand that, especially in April, May and June. And we have to set the stage. 

“But my center point, where I still see the world with him is I think he could be the best defensive player in the NBA. I think he has to feature on an All-NBA Defensive Team because he can. He's going to grow as a leader and a point guard that we talked about. And I think the other stuff is just going to just progressively evolve.

Beyond makes, Brown has emphasized that there needs to be a willingness to shoot. 

It's just three days into camp but that willingness seems to be there.

“The good news, what everybody should hear is, for me, it is how many shots has he passed up?” Brown said. "And there aren't any. And I think that's massive. He hasn't passed up [any shots] and we study it, he understands what I think and what we're trying to do.”

The funny thing is, after Simmons was done speaking, Harris approached the scrum. As the assembled media had their backs turned to give Harris their attention, Simmons went to work. He took free throws and then threes, according to an NBC Sports Philadelphia producer outside the scrum. Apparently, Simmons made a bunch of them — one from “Steph Curry range.”

The famous refrain from Sixers fans will be that he hasn’t done so in a game. He knows it. We all know it.

He may have a chance to hoist a three in Saturday’s Blue X White Scrimmage at the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington, Delaware. It’ll be a game setting and he’ll likely be left open.

The most candid player on the Sixers’ roster — and likely one of the most candid in Philadelphia sports history — let everyone know what he saw.

“I feel like he has a chip on his shoulder,” Mike Scott said. “Shooting that ball, shooting the three. Hit a couple today. He's great, man. He's still one of the fastest guys, 6-10 — he's a beast. He's a superstar, so follow his lead."

Stay tuned.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Matisse Thybulle is a much better defender in real life than in NBA2K

twitch_matisse_thybulle_mikal_bridges.jpg

Matisse Thybulle is a much better defender in real life than in NBA2K

Matisse Thybulle is known for his defense in real life. In NBA2K, that is definitely not the case.

With the NBA season suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak, Thybulle and the Suns’ Mikal Bridges played each other in 2K on Friday night and streamed the action on Twitch.

Though Thybulle gave Bridges a little bit of a scare with a big third quarter, the virtual Suns beat the virtual Sixers, 75-64. 

While the intensity obviously didn’t compare to a typical game night at Wells Fargo Center, both Thybulle and Bridges — a Villanova product and a Sixer for about 20 minutes before a draft-night trade two years ago — were very into it.

Thyulle decided to sub himself into the game after just 28 seconds, and Bridges did the same 30 seconds later. 

“Which one’s shoot again?,” he asked. “Square?” 

As his team fell behind, Thybulle had some stern words for his players.

“Al, you’re better than that,” he said when Al Horford bit on a pump fake. “You’ve been in the league too long to be making those mistakes.” 

When Ben Simmons had a floater blocked, Thybulle wasn’t thrilled. 

“Ben, you’re 7-foot,” he said. “Just dunk it.” 

And a Mike Scott lay-up early in the third wasn’t what Thybulle was hoping to see. 

At one point, he tried begging for mercy from Bridges.

“Stop running pick-and-roll, I don’t know how to guard it,” he said. “Please. Come on, man.” 

Unfortunately for Thybulle, Bridges did not stop and the rookie left with a loss, albeit an entertaining one.

“I apologize to the Sixers, to my family, my friends, the people of Philadelphia,” he said. “This is not acceptable.” 

After personally finishing with no points on 0 for 3 shooting, Thybulle promised he'll be practicing.



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Josh Richardson bests Devin Booker in Sixers' NBA2K simulation win over Suns

Josh Richardson bests Devin Booker in Sixers' NBA2K simulation win over Suns

Even in a video game, the Sixers’ dominance at home continues.

Thanks to some stifling fourth-quarter defense, the Sixers took down the Suns, 76-62, in a simulation on NBA2K Friday.

Led by Josh Richardson and Al Horford, the Sixers went on a 13-4 run in the final period to seal the victory.

Here are observations from the virtual win:

J-Rich outduels Booker

Richardson was given the defensive assignment of trying to contain the high-scoring Devin Booker. Booker, who hung 40 on the Sixers in a real-life game in Phoenix back in November, got off to a hot start.

But so did Richardson.

The difference was the fourth quarter where Booker appeared to be laboring … at least that’s what the little Gatorade cup that popped up next to him would indicate.

It was Richardson’s strip on a Booker drive and lay in on the other end that sparked the Sixers’ fourth quarter run and helped put the game out of reach.

While Booker posted a game-high 27, he wasn’t very efficient, going 10 of 24 from the field. Richardson, on the other hand, had a team-high 22 points on 8 of 12 from the field and 3 of 3 from three. He also added four assists and two steals.

Embiid quiet offensively

If the Sixers deployed the offensive strategy in real life that they did in this sim, Brett Brown would have a lot of explaining to do.

The Sixers never really looked for Joel Embiid in the post until late in the game, where the All-Star center provided two big buckets. He only scored 10 points, but pulled in 15 rebounds and challenged a ton of shots at the rim.

Embiid’s speed rating must be like a 10 because he had trouble getting back on defense all night. There was also a moment where 2K color analyst Greg Anthony compared Phoenix’s DeAndre Ayton to Embiid … which certainly is a take.

Horford and Harris solid

Al Horford pounded the Suns’ bigs early, make 4 of his 5 shots from the field. He cooled off a little in the third, but buried a hook shot over former teammate Aron Baynes to extend the Sixers’ lead to seven before the period ended.

It was on the defensive end down the stretch where Horford shined in this one. He came up with a big steal and rumbled down the other end for a layup to give the Sixers’ their first double-digit lead. A couple possessions later he came up with a big block on Ayton which led to an Embiid bucket on the other end to put the Sixers up 12. Horford finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Harris scuffled early and wasn’t really aggressive and looking to score. In the second half, he started cutting to the basket and looking for shots around the rim. He ended up with 16 points on 6 of 11. He also came up with two on-ball blocks after being switched onto Booker.


Sorry, Dario

Former Sixer and fan favorite Dario Saric had a tough night dealing with his former mates. Going up against the likes of Embiid and Horford, Saric scored just two points in 17 minutes.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers