For about the past month NBA players have been showing out at summer pickup games, working on their skills for the upcoming season.
NBA trainer Chris Brickley has continued to grow his Black Ops Basketball runs in New York City, and NBA trainer Chris Johnsonhas had his own games in Los Angeles. Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons has been a prominent player in Johnson’s runs on the West coast, and he’s showed some development in his offensive game.
Simmons has been featured in multiple highlight videos of Johnson’s games, and he has most notably showed an improved jumper, the area of his game that needs the most work.
Throughout his career so far, Simmons’ mechanics have had potential — he has sometimes stuck his elbow out, but his release has usually been solid. For Simmons, gaining the confidence to shoot more jumpers is also imperative. Playing in pickup games and getting a feel for his jumper is a good way for Simmons to increase his confidence.
Along with his jump shot, though, Simmons has also continued to show an ability to operate in the mid post.
Last season Simmons showed he’s skilled in the middle of the floor, particularly when it came to shooting turnaround jumpers. The turnaround jumper was a move he occasionally used, and it proved to be effective.
During these pickup games, Simmons has displayed his main strength of getting to the basket. Simmons can get to the hoop any time he wants, but the key for him going forward is to develop a midrange jumper to keep defenses honest.
Simmons has showed great ability in using his dribble to create space for jumpers this summer. He hasn’t been flashy with his handles, but he’s attacked defenders in a way that gets them to back off.
In the video below, Simmons uses his dribble well to get to spots where he’s comfortable. Practicing these rhythm jumpers over and over can help Simmons see where he wants to go with the ball.
In Johnson’s most recent video that came out Thursday, Simmons created space well. At one point early in the video, Simmons sized up a defender, crossing over to his left to pull up for an easy jumper.
While pickup isn’t played at the speed of an NBA regular season game, it’s still a relatively organized setting. Playing in these summer runs can be beneficial for Simmons because he can get a rhythm for how he wants to get shots off.
The Sixers could clearly gain from Simmons diversifying his offensive game as well. Though Simmons is an elite passer and a good defender, the moves he has shown this summer indicate how much potential he has on offense. If Simmons can consistently create space and make jumpers, he can make the Sixers better than what they already are.
Shooting at a solid clip is the next step in Simmons’ development, and this summer it seems as though he’s made strides in improving that area of his game.