DETROIT — More than anything else, Ben Simmons wants to become Mr. Reliable at the foul line.
Asked what he wants to improve, he replied: “Coming into the playoffs, free throws. I need to make my free throws. I think that’s one of the main things. … If I’m getting to the line, making free throws, it’s going to be hard sending me there.”
The rookie point guard is shooting 56.3 percent from the foul line after making 2 of 4 free throws in Wednesday’s win over the Pistons. He was just 4 of 11 (36.4 percent) in the Sixers’ previous five games.
For now, free-throw shooting and a reluctance to attempt three-pointers are the only downsides of his game. The Sixers aren’t concerned that he doesn’t take the threes; they realize it will come over time. Simmons intends to work on his long-range shooting this offseason. Right now, his ability to get to the rim compensates for not shooting three-pointers.
But Simmons knows he would be tough to stop by becoming a better foul shooter.
“I’m if knocking it down, it adds another element to my game,” he said.
Celebrating Martelli’s mother
Pistons guards and former St. Joseph’s standouts Jameer Nelson and Langston Galloway were in Lansdowne on Tuesday to attend the funeral of Mary Jane Martelli. Mrs. Martelli, the mother of St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli, died March 25 at the age of 84. Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy gave Nelson and Galloway the day off to pay their respects. Devoted to the Hawks, Mrs. Martelli went to every home game and often accompanied the team to road games.