Doc Rivers on Simmons Game 1: “ It’s a Treasure ”
Sometimes what Ben Simmons does isn’t pretty, but it’s underrated and a big part of what the Sixers earn.
In a league that puts so much emphasis on shooting and scoring, Simmons doesn’t excel in those areas. What he does is help others maximize those two areas, and that was in full view, setting a career-high playoff peak with 15 assists, in the Sixers’ opener win over the Wizards on Sunday. .
“He created so many points,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “Out of the glass, out of transition to three, creating switches they didn’t want to have.”
Simmons added 15 rebounds to his ledger, but scored just six points and went 0-6 from the free throw line.
However, a lot of things Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Danny Green and Seth Curry are capable of accomplishing on the offensive end come from Simmons’ ability to get them the ball to the right places and make them look wide open.
Simmons was one of the main reasons Harris scored a career-high 37 points in the playoffs, Embiid 30 points and Curry and Green combined 26 points and six three-pointers.
“It’s a treasure,” Rivers said. “It’s something you don’t see a lot in this league.”
What Simmons is doing can be frustrating, but he’s a key part of the Sixers’ playoffs. His defense was key to frustrating Bradley Beal for much of the first half, while Embiid was on the bench for all but 10 minutes with three fouls.
While Beal ended up with big numbers, totaling 33 points, he was just 1-6 out of the three-point range and returned the ball six times.
“I think it was pretty solid,” Simmons said of his defense on Sunday, noting that after playing for 10 days he was a little tired.
If you want Simmons to score big points you might be disappointed, that’s not part of the Sixers’ recipe for success. However, if you’re happy with Harris and Embiid having great nights and Green and Curry are burning open three-pointers, Simmons is your guy.
In this team, I will take the latter.
“I’m just trying to make winning games,” Simmons added. “Do what I can to help this team win, be the leader, lead the team. Get the guys in the right positions, perform the right sets. If anyone feels it, keep giving them the ball.”