Simply put, I can't wait for the start of the NBA season which has lead me to stream and record a wide variety of preseason games. I believe that a lot can be gained from watching veterans, rookies with contracts, and the other NBA journey men who will end up in the G-League or retreat to an oversea's league that hopefully doesn't envolve a member of the Ball family.
Let's face-it, watching preseason NBA basketball is fair less complex then watching any other major sport as it is clear who is a player' and who is going to be joining me in a watch party steaming the Lakers vs Cavs game.
Keeping my tradition up of watching some preseason basketball, I happened to stumble upon the 76ers game live. So when Ben Simmons stood 3 feet back from the three-point-line, ball in hand, and the closet defender was making a collect call in the concourse, I knew he was going to take the shoot. As the ball flew through the air, I remembered that Ben Simmons, an NBA All-Star, had never drained a three, not even by accident. So just like everyone who is watching i cheered when the ball went through the net, then I jeered!
Ben Simmons is like a pop-star who delivers "Top 20 Hits" on a regular bases. Simmons is really good in every category: averaging over 16 points a game, in the top 10 in assists, comes in at 19th in rebounds, and made it into the top 50 in points. The point is he is great, but not that great. Case-in-point, I jeered after he made his first NBA three, because he made his first NBA three. The fact that making a three during a preseason game, as he enters year three of his career, is a thing, is in-fact what makes it exactly that, a thing. Ben, making a three is one thing, but the real question is can he make jump-shots on a regular basis, because only averaging 16 points a game, isn't going to get it done.
What Needs to Done Ben, or Not Done!
In order for me and many others to consider this a successful year, Ben is going to have to comply with the following. First, maintain his assists and rebounds per game. Averaging 7.7 assists and grabbing 8.8 rebounds a game are both global superstar numbers for a point-guard. Second, he will need to score over 22 points a game. Now I no, I'm asking Ben to average 6 more points a game, but that is the kind of leap-forward that is expected.
I fear that Ben is only going to improve to 18 points a game. Sure that's up by 2 points from the year before , but . let's face-it, that simply is not good enough for a guy with all that talent. This is the clear-cut main reason I'd call this a failed year for Ben.
What is Ben to do? He simply needs to take a big leap forward with his scoring. Look I don't care how he gets his points, the point is he needs to be way more aggressive. Basically, Ben needs to turn himself into a scorer. He needs to become a player who is feared, because he can score from anywhere. If he does all that, then I would expect him to score 22 points a game, every night.
The Sort of Bottom Line
I hate comparing stats from different era's, but watching Simmons his rookie year was spectacular at times. Then watching Ben basically statistically duplicate his rookie year a second time is why I'm concerned. The Magic vs Ben comparisons are out there, but the true test is the eye-test. Magic had that killer instinct, and it showed up on the floor. But does Ben posses that killer instinct that is needed to score 22+ points a game?
Look I fear that Ben is really just like a Top 20 Pop Star, never really breaking into the top 5.