Beyond the Key Episode of the week
By Chris Madden
For the NBA faithful, the Summer League is the teaser that gets every fan through the off-season. All of the greats come through the NBA Summer League, and frankly it’s a showcase of a franchise’s young talent.
After a draft that some said was “lacking in talent”, the Summer League is full of potential for players looking to make a name for themselves. While some of the top tier teams are set in relation to their starting lineups, as well as rosters, others are banking on finding some of their future talent in the Summer League games.
So far, several Summer League games have been played. We’ve seen D’Angelo Russell hit a game winning three, and rookie Kris Dunn demolish a defender’s ankles. There are many players who were taken in the 2016 Draft that are expected to make immediate impacts in the league, but there is one in particular everyone is looking for:
We’ve heard all we can about the comparisons of Ben Simmons to LeBron James. Now that Simmons is gone from LSU and officially part of the Philadelphia 76ers, the real question will be: can he live up to the hype?
So far Simmons’ game has been a little shakey at best. After four games, Simmons is averaging 10.5 points per game and 7 rebounds per game. Now let’s be honest, it is his first four games in the Summer League, he still has plenty of time to develop. But the real issue may not be how much time he has to develop, rather the method Philadelphia may have to use to help him develop:
After watching Simmons’ four Summer League games so far, it is evident that Philly is letting him “shoot at will”. That is a great tactic; if he was a shooter. Simmons wasn’t known for his jump shooting (in his one season of LSU basketball), however, he does have the ability to get the open looks needed for the shots. It looks as though in order to help Simmons develop a dynamic jump shot, he will be given the “green light” all season to shoot as many shots as he can.
One announcer during the game against Chicago said, “It’s not like Philly is going to be focused on wins just yet, they should just award him for taking as many shots as possible in the hopes that his jump shot develops this season”. This could be a great tactic; if Ben Simmons develops a jump shot that is consistent from 18 feet, it could be what turns the Philadelphia franchise around. If it doesn’t pan out, it could be another stretch of struggling years for what once was a legitimate NBA contending franchise.