Former NBA All-Star and two-time Big3 MVP Joe Johnson caught up with reporters this week. When casually strolling through the airport, the former NBA star was asked about current NBA All-Star Ben Simmons as the Sixers guard remains a hot topic around the league with training camp just a couple of weeks away.
Ever since the 76ers dropped Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the playoffs last season, Ben Simmons' name was brought up in countless trade rumors. As the Sixers made him available, and Simmons and his camp made it clear they'd like a fresh start elsewhere, it seems to be a matter of when, not if, the 25-year-old guard is traded.
In previous years, the Sixers would've had no problem trading Simmons away. As he's a proven All-Star and one of the league's best defensive players, his value around the league was quite high. After his last playoffs performance, though, it's never been lower.
At this point, the question marks surrounding Simmons' game are legitimate. Ever since he entered the NBA after getting drafted in 2016, Simmons' shooting has been a major weakness.
Despite the fact he showed he can knock down jumpers consistently on the practice court, the NBA veteran has yet to consistently apply his jumper in games. Johnson, a 44-percent shooter from the field, urges Simmons to get over his fear of missing baskets and let shots fly in a game setting.
"I honestly don't think nothing's wrong with [his shot]," Johnson said, according to TMZ. "You see him playing pickup basketball shooting jumpers, fadeaways, threes ... so we all know it's there. He just has to take that same confidence that he has in pickup and translate it into an NBA game. That's it. You're gonna miss and make shots, you can't care about the misses. He's just got to continue to take them."
Unfortunately, Johnson's advice is easier said than done. For several offseasons now, Simmons has displayed a willingness to launch shots from all over the court in an empty gym during pickup games. But when game time rolls around, he's offensively the same player he was coming out of LSU.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.