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76ers HC Doc Rivers Defends His Comments About Ben Simmons to Stephen A. Smith

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers shouts during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers doesn't think it is a top priority for point guard Ben Simmons to consistently hit from beyond the arc this year.

Rivers made an appearance on ESPN's First Take on Friday and responded when Stephen A. Smith called Rivers' recent comments that Simmons' lack of a jump shot isn't that big of a deal "blasphemous" (1:30 mark).

"I want Ben Simmons to play free," Rivers said. "I don't want him to play thinking about shooting a jump shot. I want him to play downhill, get in the paint, make plays, get to the free-throw line ... Don't drive to the arena thinking about 'man, I need to make a three tonight.'"

While he acknowledged Simmons developing a jump shot will be important over the course of his career, Rivers said it doesn't matter where the points come from during the game as long as the team is scoring at an efficient pace.

The coach also pointed out he won a championship with the Boston Celtics with Rajon Rondo running the offense when the University of Kentucky product wasn't always seeking out perimeter shots.

Philadelphia is yet to advance past the second round of the playoffs with the Simmons and Joel Embiid combination.

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However, the team added perimeter shooters in Seth Curry and Danny Green this offseason to help make up for Simmons' lack of outside scoring. Rivers clearly believes there is a formula in place to win, even if it doesn't include his point guard hitting three-pointers.

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