CHICAGO – Outside of Markelle Fultz’s, Ben Simmons’ long-range shot might be the biggest mystery on the 76ers.
Fultz is relearning how to shoot, whereas Simmons simply won’t shoot from the outside during games. However, the Sixers point guard has shown some improvement in post-practice and pregame drills visible to the media.
Simmons even made four of five three-pointers during one stretch while warming up before Thursday’s victory over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. However, he has attempted only 10 three-pointers in games, almost all long desperation heaves at the buzzer, and missed all of them. Simmons’ last such attempt came Jan. 3.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) February 22, 2018
“I think I have to start taking it more for the team to get better,” Simmons said of the three-pointer. “I think it will help our team.”
The 21-year-old is adjusting to being in a position where the Sixers (31-25) need him to shoot three-pointers and become better at it. Simmons said he needs to get comfortable trying them in games.
“And getting comfortable takes me being uncomfortable,” the rookie-of-the-year candidate said.
For the most part, Simmons hasn’t had to shoot from outside because of his comfort level and success at getting to the rim. That’s why he never focused on improving his three-point shooting in the past.
“I never had to,” Simmons said. “It’s a little different now.”
Meanwhile, Fultz is expected to miss his 53rd straight game when the Sixers host the Orlando Magic at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers say Fultz is sidelined because of right-shoulder rehabilitation. But while his scapular muscle imbalance went away in December, he has remained sidelined until he and the Sixers feel comfortable with his jump shot.
The Sixers shouldn’t need him against the Magic, who are 18-40 and have lost four straight games.