Ben Simmons is about to start his first (actual) season with the Brooklyn Nets, an 82-game campaign that will definitely be very normal and totally won't involve a bunch of strange side drama with Simmons and his Very Normal teammates Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
One subplot for Sixers fans to follow from afar will be Simmons' jumper: has he developed it at all during his time off? Or were his annual shooting-in-a-gym videos all for naught, as they often are?
At Nets Media Day on Monday NBA reporter Jared Greenberg pointedly asked Simmons if he has any idea of how many three pointers he'll attempt this year, and Simmons had a curt answer:
"GREENBERG: Can I be the first to ask how many threes you're gonna take this year?
"SIMMONS: S**t, who knows?"
I'd imagine we all know. The number will probably fall between zero and three. You can't rule out end-of-game desperation attempts, and you can't rule out his one or two picture-perfect wide-open corner threes like he took in his final two seasons with the Sixers.
But at this point, we know who he is. He knows who he is. He's a virtuosic passer with unreal 94-foot speed, a long defender who harasses the opponent's best scorers, and he's... not at all a threat to get his own shot and a complete liability in half-court offenses come playoff time.
This is the main reason I still have questions about Simmons' viability alongside Durant and Irving. For all the difference he'll make on the defensive end, and the ways he'll be able to get those guys good looks during the regular season, I don't think enough is being made of how utterly helpless he becomes in the half-court. Playoff games are much slower than regular season games, and Irving and Durant are both ball-dominant scorers.
If Simmons doesn't have the ball in his hands the Nets are going to find themselves facing down the same problems the Sixers experienced during their previous playoff runs.
And you know what? It doesn't matter to Sixers fans. Simmons is gone, James Harden is here, and the Sixers have the potential to be a Top 3 team in the East.
The Nets face the Sixers in Philadelphia on Nov. 22.