Philadelphia 76ers: 3 things to watch on opening night

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia 76ers
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

1. Ben Simmons’ new jump shot

Alright, let’s get the obvious out-of-the-way: Yes, all Philadelphia fans should be watching opening night to see Ben Simmons’ new jumper, as what seemed to start off as a knock on the young man’s game has now become the most anticipated part of it this upcoming season, due to Simmons emphasizing practice on his jumper during the offseason.

Everyone already knows that Simmons is a dominant driver and dunker who can also dish passes like a Michelin star chef, but if there was one way to consistently stop the former Rookie of the Year, it was to back up and make him shoot. Sad but true, as defenders have been able to easily slow Simmons down by forcing him to attempt a jumper – and that’s if he even attempted a jumper.

Simmons’ field goal percentage decreases drastically the further he gets away from the basket, dipping from .701 percent at the rim to .427 percent from three-to-10 feet away from the basket – with the number only getting worse from there.

However, the main talk of this offseason has been the improvement of Simmons’ jump shot with videos coming out showing him sinking mid-range and three-point shots that he previously hasn’t shown to be comfortable with during live games. Simmons even made his first three-pointer on an actual NBA court in front of amazed Sixers fans in a preseason game versus the Guangzhou Long-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association. Even with his first career three-pointer coming in a preseason game against a Chinese basketball team, the effortless-ness of the shot and the way the ball sank right through the net makes the excitement rise that much more for Simmons’ jumper.

As much as it’s obvious that an NBA player should have an at the very least decent jumper, it’s no small feat that Simmons’ is adding one to his arsenal. Since, if is his shot turns out to be lights out, it adds a whole nother dimension to the kid’s game and completely changes the way defenders have to defend him.