Nothing like a Sixers controversy to save us from a Phillies two-hit effort.
Marc Stein noted in his most recent Mailbag for The New York Times that Ben Simmons might consider switching his shooting hand this season. While putting together his All-Lefty Team of Simmons, James Harden, Joe Ingles, Goran Dragic, Manu Ginobili, and DeAndre Jordan, Stein dropped a hint that a change could be on the horizon for the reigning Rookie of the Year:
“Also remember: It’s August, people. Don’t get too heated here — not over this. If Simmons goes all righty this season, as some expect, we will adjust.”
Simmons, to his credit, responded to Uproxx’ post on Stein’s insight:
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) August 14, 2018
This is by no means the first time the rumored shooting hand controversy has been made public.
Back in 2016, Kevin O’Connor – formerly of SB Nation, now a writer for The Ringer – penned a piece that LSU phenom Ben Simmons was shooting with the wrong hand. The numbers for Simmons’ preferred handedness on non-jumpshots was staggering through February of 2016:
Simmons has attempted 265 non-jumpers so far this year. Despite being a left-handed shooter, only 10 of his non-jumpers were released with his left hand, 39 were with both hands, and 216 were with his right hand.
Fast forward a year and O’Connor, writing for The Ringer, dedicated a section of his “Reintroduction to Ben Simmons” to his ongoing theory:
If you had to guess, you’d assume he’s a righty. But he shoots jumpers and free throws with his left hand. That’s a problem. At LSU and summer league in 2016, Simmons hit only 18 of 63 jumpers (or 28.6 percent), per my research. He’s a bad shooter and he knows it—so does his coach. Brown has even admitted Simmons limits the types of lineups that can be used around him. He will be the only non-shooter in any given lineup he’s involved in because defenses will sag off him so much.
In April of this year, JJ Redick alluded to a potential switch of hands on his podcast:
“I would say specifically with Ben and Markelle, there’s a functional issue in terms of shooting form. Markelle obviously had his shoulder injury. I think Ben’s form left-handed is worse than his form right-handed. But I’ve seen Ben’s improvement, and Ben has worked extremely hard with Lloyd Pierce, one of our assistant coaches, after pretty much every practice and every shoot-around. He’s worked on his shot, and he’s gotten better.”
In the aftermath of the Sixers’ series loss to the Celtics, one in which the Sixers were -63 points with Ben on the court, ESPN’s Jalen Rose posited the same notion:
I’d assume that at least one crotchety sports radio host will take this report, pair it with Ben and Kendall Jenner vacationing in Vegas, and build programming around Simmons not being dedicated enough to improving his jumper.