Isiah Thomas Speaks the Crystal Clear Truth to Ben Simmons: ‘If Ben Simmons Becomes a Better Foul Shooter Then This Story Is Over’
As the Philadelphia 76ers move through the 2021-22 season, the drama remains around Ben Simmons. The star point guard still hasn’t played a game, while there is no clarity on his future. Despite all that, Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas recently voiced strong supportive comments toward the three-time All-Star.
Ben Simmons sits in an uncertain situation with Philadelphia
Since the 76ers’ disappointing second-round playoff exit against the Atlanta Hawks, Simmons’ future remains uncertain.
The three-time All-Star initially stayed away from the team while informing the front office he wanted a trade. However, Simmons has returned to the 76ers, but he is working toward becoming mentally prepared to play.
That latest hurdle has kept him sidelined, as he hasn’t exactly cooperated with the team’s staff. As the situation drags out, a Hall of Fame point guard has voiced strong supportive comments.
Isiah Thomas speaks the crystal clear truth to Ben Simmons: ‘If Ben Simmons becomes a better foul shooter then this story is over’
The drama-filled situation in Philadelphia has delivered a significant hit to Simmons’ stock.
Teams have demonstrated significant hesitance in trading for the three-time All-Star, especially with the 76ers’ fixation to receive a lucrative offer package in return. Despite that, former Pistons great Isiah Thomas voiced during a recent appearance on The Big Podcast With Shaq that he would trade for the 25-year-old.
“To me, Ben Simmons is not a broken player,” Thomas said. “He was their best defender. He was an All-Star. And he led them in assists. Now what Ben Simmons’ problem is not that he can’t shoot the basketball, his problem is he can’t make free throws as a point guard,” Thomas said. “As a point guard, the leader of the team, if Ben Simmons became a better foul-shooter, Ben Simmons will be averaging 19 points a game, eight rebounds, eight assists, and nobody would have a problem with Ben Simmons. [He] needs to get in the gym and work on foul shooting.”
Simmons has struggled mightily from the free-throw line, holding a 59.7% career percentage mark. Thomas added that he sees the star guard’s situation mirroring a bit of what Hall of Famer Magic Johnson experienced.
“Magic Johnson could not shoot the basketball,” Thoms said. “Mark Aguirre and I were working out with him one summer and we are working on all of our moves and doing this fancy stuff. Magic Johnson the whole summer shot free throws. We ran and did sprints and everything then he would shoot free throws.
We were like “why aren’t you working on your game.’ He was like ‘I’m working on my game, y’all keep doing that s*** that y’all doing.’ The next year, he became the MVP of the league because he got to the could line eight times a night and became a 90% foul shooter. If Ben Simmons becomes a better foul shooter then this story is over.”
Johnson’s situation was a bit different, given the caliber of player he was. He was also shooting above 80% from the free-throw line before his MVP 1986-87 campaign. However, Thomas’ comments underline what improved free-throw shooting could do for Simmons’ career.
76ers must remain patient with their star point guard
The 76ers are in a tough spot with Simmons as the team is uncertain about what lies ahead.
Philadelphia knows that the 25-year-old is unhappy, while him not playing puts a damper on what can unfold. Until he gets back on the court, the franchise can’t move forward toward a resolution.
It’s hard to determine if the relationship is salvageable, but all that will play out accordingly once he returns.
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