Ben Simmons is generally a quiet and reserved person. His calm outward demeanor can often hide an aggressive streak. The Brooklyn Nets decided to challenge Simmons, not by getting in his face, but rather by sagging off deep into the lane and forcing him to decide how to run the offense.
Simmons responded by attempting just 9 field goals and turning into more of a passive, pass first version of himself.
“I think i was trying to run the team too much and getting guys the ball and putting guys in certain positions.”
“Sometimes i need to take it upon myself to just go to the rim and attack”
When asked about what he would change in his approach to the Nets sagging off him Simmons responded “Staying aggressive, attacking downhill, making them make tough plays”
The Sixers 6’10” point guard really does take his role as floor general seriously and whether it be lack of confidence in his perimeter shooting or too much patience relative to trying to get his teammates into a rhythm, Simmons seemed to acknowledge that leadership in this case may come from a more attacking style.
When asked about the poor shooting night from the team in general and how it impacted their approach Simmons acknowledged that it had an effect. “Definitely.. it affected our mindset. When you’re not hitting shots, you come down on the defensive side and it’s frustrating. I think we went 3 for 25, or something crazy, which usually isn’t us. If you change that, it’s a different game.”
But again, he didn’t write the poor shooting night as pure aberration to be ignored.
“I don’t think i was aggressive enough, I could be more aggressive.”
Brett Brown on Simmons
Immediately after the game Saturday PFO talked to Brett about Ben’s accepting the crowded paint, passing into tight windows and not attacking, Brett had a different take.
“I do agree he (Simmons), at times, passed into some tight windows, he’s trying to play with that pace and speed and still be a point guard and share the ball”
He did not feel that the appropriate decision would be to force drives to a generously protected rim however. “The notion that you are going to take a sagging player that crowds the paint and try to drive that, that’s even more traffic”
Surprisingly Brett waded into a more well worn discussion by suggesting Ben should shoot more jumpers. “Should he have just dribbled up and taken some top of the key jumpshots? maybe, possibly.
But looking forward Brown noted “Ben did have a down night by his standards obviously but he’ll be back, he’s too good of a player to not be back.”
“I’ll be shocked if you don’t see a different Ben Simmons in game 2”
Ben Simmons on the Fans
Simmons was asked about the reaction to his frustrated comments about the boo’s the Sixers and he specifically heard in Game 1.
“It’s philly, thats whats gonna happen” regarding the reaction to his reaction to the boos.
“I love it, that’s how Philly is. I love it here, i love the fans here, They are going to give you the shit, they are gonna talk shit.”
Simmons typically isn’t known for long elaboration but he continued unprompted.
“If your not playing well, they are gonna let you know. I’d rather be here than a place where they really didn’t care or only showed up when your playing well”