When it comes to the Philadelphia 76ers, some things are just much more important to the fans than they are to the organization. For the last three seasons, former first-overall pick Ben Simmons heard tons of criticism regarding his lack of a jump shot.
Despite being a two-time All-Star in his first three years in the league, the Sixers star will have that one glaring weakness hanging over his head until he reverses the narrative himself. In the past, former head coach Brett Brown made it clear he didn't view Simmons' jump shot, or lack thereof, the same way as the press and the fans.
Although Brown did almost cave into the outside pressure and admitted he considered benching Simmons for not answering his demands of taking one three-point shot a game, the former Sixers head coach never actually did it.
Many were excited to see a change in management this year. Not only because the 76ers as a whole needed new leadership, but because the idea of a well-respected veteran head coach such as Doc Rivers coming in and essentially convincing Simmons to tap into using his jumper consistently ran through fans' minds.
But at this point, one week into training camp, the situation remains the same. Ben Simmons isn't going to start launching shots for the sake of killing the narrative surrounding him -- and Doc Rivers won't force his hand to do it, either.
"I don't care about Ben's shooting as much as so many other people seem to care about it," Rivers said earlier this week. "I care that he's a great player, and I'm gonna let him play. I mean, give him the keys and let him be free and play."
Although Simmons' lack of a jump shot can create spacing issues if there are no other scoring threats on the floor, the fourth-year star can still find ways to score without having to force shots out of his comfort zone constantly.
There's hope that the 'if it's open, I'll take it' concept remains with Simmons throughout the year, but he's not in a position to keep taking shots for the sake of taking shots. The Sixers are in it to win it this season, and to Simmons, that's more important than developing his jumper throughout the year.
“It’s important to make shots," Simmons mentioned during a virtual press conference on Friday. "But it’s more important to win, so however the win happens, it happens. I know Doc and Sam [Cassell] are going to put me in the right positions to do that and be dominant, so I’m just looking forward to getting out there and seeing what they have to offer in terms of my situation on the floor and where I’m going to be.”
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_