Ben Simmons' reluctance to shoot has been a storyline for his entire career. But it became a season-changing problem on Sunday night when he passed up a wide-open layup in the Philadelphia 76ers 103-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report
Joel Embiid: "I'll be honest. I thought the turning point was when we — I don't know how to say it — is when we had an open shot and we made one free throw..."<br><br>Translation: When Ben Simmons had a wide open dunk and passed it up because he didn’t want to go to the line.
The question has always been why, exactly, Simmons just doesn't want to shoot. Former Philadelphia 76ers assistant and current Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams reportedly had one theory, per Yaron Weitzman of Fox Sports:
"Williams, who worked closely with Simmons while serving as an assistant to Brett Brown for one season, hypothesized to friends that Simmons was scared of looking bad. Management under Bryan Colangelo even discussed having Simmons switch his shooting hand from left to right, which serves as his dominant hand in every other facet of his life."
Multiple theories abound. There's the "he shoots with the wrong hand" theory. The "he helps the team in so many other ways so he doesn't want to force up bad shots" theory. And now the "he doesn't want to look bad" theory.
There's probably some truth in all three. Whatever the reason, that reluctance to shoot—especially in the fourth quarter of playoff games, where he attempted just three shots in the entire series vs. the Hawks—is a huge reason why the top-seed Sixers are now on vacation.