When the Philadelphia 76ers decided to trade for JJ Redick, he was hailed as a star in waiting. Now with just one year remaining on his contract and an abysmal shooting slump that has seen him miss six straight games from beyond the arc, it appears there might be more going on than meets the eye.
For years, Ben Simmons’ inability to shoot a basketball — and his refusal to even attempt — has been a running joke in the NBA. In four complete seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, the former point guard hit just five three-pointers, and his career free-throw percentage of 59.7% is an embarrassment.
Many have theorized as to what is causing Simmons’ shooting woes, but the answer may be right in front of our eyes. Simmons is a natural righty who shoots with the wrong hand, according to his former teammate JJ Redick.
As a shooter, Ben Simmons is simply getting worse.
During a break, Ben Simmons and JJ Redick shake hands | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
A huge percentage of young players who join the NBA without a polished jumper are able to develop year after year while working with some of the top coaches and trainers on the planet. Simmons, on the other hand, has gone in the other way.
Last season, the former No. 1 overall choice shot 55.7 percent from the field, his lowest percentage since his debut full season in the NBA. In addition, he shot a terrible 61.3 percent from the free-throw line, a drop from 2020.
Over two playoff series, Simmons shot 34.2 percent from the charity line. 34.2 percent of the population For a guard of his quality, that’s almost impossible.
In the 76ers’ seven-game series against the Atlanta Hawks, his faith in his jumper was entirely shattered, as he attempted only three combined field goals in the fourth quarter. Simmons’ lack of a jump shot has exposed him on the offensive end, but he also lacks confidence in his stroke and shows little hurry to improve it.
Simmons is shooting with the incorrect hand, according to JJ Redick.
For two seasons, Redick and Simmons were teammates with the 76ers. Every day at practice, he observed up close how the point guard worked (or didn’t) to develop his shot. In a recent appearance with the Pardon My Take podcast from Barstool Sports, Redick said that he believes Simmons is shooting with the incorrect hand.
“He argues with me, yet he writes with his right hand when I observe him.” He would toss with his right hand if I asked him to. Even when he hops, he does it with his left foot in the majority of his dunks. That’s what a person who is right-handed does. And I’ve seen him shoot, and his right hand’s shape is more like to a correct shot than his left.
I believe he is a right-handed individual who shoots the basketball with his left hand.”
Redick likened Simmons’ problem to DeAndre Jordan’s struggle to rediscover his free-throw shooting stroke. Jordan shoots left-handed but does almost everything else right-handed, and Simmons seems to be the same.
More proof that a right-winger is posing as a left-winger.
In the playoffs, Ben Simmons took 95 shots. He made an attempt…
He fired 67 rounds using his right hand. 19 shots were taken using both hands. He fired 9 rounds using his left hand.
Over 70% of his shots are right-handed throughout his career.
“I assume I was destined to be right-handed,” Simmons said in 2016. https://t.co/6Ox3L37jdY
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 21, 2021
Simmons has always been able to make off-balanced jumpers around the hoop with both hands. In fact, in last year’s playoffs, he tried more shots with his right hand than with his left, and the stats weren’t even close.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN spoke on SportsCenter over the summer and indicated that switching to his right hand wasn’t out of the question.
“One of the things I’ve been informed is on the table — it hasn’t been determined yet, but it’s on the table,” Windhorst said. “Wow, that’s quite a bold move. He is ambidextrous, which means he can use both hands. He does certain things right-handed throughout his life. It isn’t irrational.”
We’re not sure whether it was put in place merely because Simmons hasn’t played for any club this season. What if he made his debut with the Brooklyn Nets and instantly began draining three-pointers with his right hand? Sixers supporters would be at a loss on what to do.
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