By Jen Masters
Sixers coach Doc Rivers says Ben Simmons will be the team’s top playmaker this season and that he had an “off-the-charts” practice yesterday, adding the former No. 1 pick will be the “facilitator” of the offense.
In other words, Simmons is back to being the primary “facilitator” for the Sixers after playing power forward in the bubble before his season ended due to an injury.
While he is a terrific cutter who can cause mismatches for defenses when he gets position in the painted area, the 24-year-old’s timidity in shooting the 3-pointer could at times make him a ghost in the offense. So, it makes all the sense in the world for Rivers to keep Simmons on the ball, especially considering some of the additions the Sixers made in the offseason.
New president of basketball operations Daryl Morey acquired veteran swingman Danny Green from the Oklahoma City Thunder, giving the Sixers the perfect 3-and-D archetype who can space the floor and spot up in the corner. Morey also swapped out Josh Richardson — a good defender but average shooter — for Seth Curry, who ranks second all-time in career 3-point percentage.
Morey has seemingly built a roster around Simmons and Joel Embiid, and adding shooters will allow Simmons to attack individual matchups while finding the open man on the perimeter. Simmons and Embiid will also run more pick-and-rolls to take advantage of their unique skill sets.
There will be plenty of eyes on Simmons, Embiid and the Sixers this year, but Rivers seems to be encouraged by what he sees from his 6-foot-10 point guard.