It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Ben Simmons, but the All-Three Stars spoke with JJ Redick for over an hour ahead of the 2022-23 season.
Simmons has touched a lot during his time on “The Old Man and the Three”. The conversation started with Simmons and Redick recalling their time together at the 76ers and progressed to talk about the combo surrounding his jump shot, his recent injury, and—yes—the layup he missed against the Hawks.
You can watch the full interview below, but if you’re looking at the SparkNotes version, here are 11 things Simmons said that jumped out at me.
MORE: Yes, Ben Simmons is now the NBA’s most underrated player
The most interesting things Ben Simmons said on the JJ Redick podcast
1. Simmons feels his basketball IQ has been ignored
“Sure, I think so. I don’t know, it’s like, it’s easy to just say, you know, pick things up about a player, but when you actually look at it and the amount of points I get in terms like different ways, there’s a lot of points. And we did some amazing things. in Philly but I think it’s been overlooked. But that’s fine.”
What you need to knowSimmons scored a total of 2,127 assists between the 2017-18 and 2020-21 seasons. The only players to score more during that period are Nikola Jokic (2149), James Harden (2203), LeBron James (2235) and Russell Westbrook (2768).
2. Simmons gives insight into his offensive mentality
Simmons responded when asked if he’d prefer scoring or getting help “it’s the same.” “I think it’s the same. But also, it depends on how we get the full set. I want to get easy buckets, and it’s a team game as well. It’s easier to protect one player whose only goal is to score. For me, I’m a defender too, guarding someone.” What he just wants to score, it’s easier for me to focus on that than LeBron, who makes everyone better.
“So scoring and assisting is the same for me. I’m a winner and I want to win. That has always been the goal for me.”
3. Simmons names the toughest covers in the NBA
“There are a lot of strong men in their own way, but Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. What are we talking about? Full speed incline, 10 paces, dipping, it’s tough. LeBron, he makes people better so I can’t always worry about him because he makes someone else better. Until Tra Young, the last time we played. There have been so many calls that you just can’t be too physical. I’m 6-10 guarding a guy like, what’s he weighing, 200 pounds or whatever.
“It’s different in every way. Some players are incredibly talented and then you have certain referees who will give players certain calls. It’s basketball, man.”
What you need to know: Simmons has two first-team All-Defensive picks and was ranked second in the 2020-21 Defensive Player of the Year vote. He knows a thing or two about defense.
4. Simmons admits that talking about the shooting frustrated him
“I think it was for a while so repetitive, you’d hear it all the time from everyone. You’re like, ‘Oh my God, leave my case.'” Like, I do other things too. I guard the best players. That’s one thing, I don’t think people respect that enough, like what I bring to the court because there are so many things – I bring to court.
“For me, I just want to win so that people also don’t understand that my goal is just to win. I’m not trying to get those many points, whatever they are, my goal is to win so I try to do everything I can during the match to give the right plays and the right reading to help my team on winning.
“But that’s definitely frustrating, but it’s also one of my weaknesses, so what am I going to get angry at people for saying I’m not good at something? Well, yeah, I’m going to practice and get better. That’s what it is.
“That’s just part of the game. If I’m a tacky guy and people don’t care, people won’t mention my name. For me, I’m proud to be who I am because people expect a basketball level from me, which I like because I’d rather be who I am than not at stadium”.
5. Simmons also admits that criticism of the shooting messed with him
“Sure. I didn’t really realize that early on in my career. They say I can’t, right? It worked – with me a lot, but I found peace and playing where I absolutely loved it,” F – it’s basketball, I’m great at the game and I need to get out There and show people what I can do and my talent.
“It’s been like that for a while, it was a bit like training, but that’s what it is. I feel like all these things that have happened in the last few years for me have kind of helped me grow and mature in a way that I don’t think I would have done if I didn’t have those experiences.”
What you need to know: I’ve been making a lot of jump shot Simmons. He’s a dominant paintball scorer, but hasn’t shown much progress on the field as a shooter since entering the NBA.
6. Simmons isn’t worried about making a comeback after missing an entire season
“No, I’m going to be cool. And I’m excited to play with Kev, Ky, Joe Harris, all these guys. We have a great team. For me, after the surgery, I knew what it would take to get back to where I needed to be locked up. Tough – obviously no easy rehab, it’s a tough process, and that’s it for me. This is my little season. Every time I’ve been through a situation where I get hurt or whatever, it’s the time for me to focus and focus and get to Where I need to be.”
What you need to knowSimmons was sidelined throughout his rookie season with a broken foot and missed the 2021-22 season in part due to injury.
7. Simmons discusses his suitability with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
“I think just like the talent we have and the kind of players we have, we will be able to run easily. You know, we have [Nicolas] Claxton, moves very well, how, Patty, K, Joe, we just got Royce [O’Neale]Another cool guy in 3D. I miss people, but now this team is a perfect fit for what I do and what I bring to the game.
“I kind of feel like Philly on steroids, in terms of what we had when I was there, Marco [Belinelli] and grooms [Ilyasova].
“It’s exciting knowing I’m going to play with these guys and know their games. I don’t have to guard Keri and Kevin.”
8. Simmons explains how he injured his back
“I was already going up the stairs. At first, I had some pain in my back when I was working, then I went to like jumping stairs, going up the stairs, going down the whole right side. When I went upstairs, I lay down and couldn’t move.
“In Milwaukee, I had the same thing, going up, crooked, and as soon as this happened I knew I couldn’t even move, I dropped my leg. I was in so much pain the whole game… I was vomiting because I was in so much pain. The pain was going downhill. Your leg. I couldn’t sit like that, so I couldn’t sit in the car. Everything I was doing was hurting.
“But yeah, I ran up the stairs and my right side went completely down.”
What you need to knowSimmons underwent back surgery towards the end of the 2021-22 season to treat a herniated disc. In his initial report, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that Simmons is expected to make a full recovery “before long” from training camp.
9. Simmons opens up about his psychological struggles
“I think it was, for example, that I really deal with just as much mentally in life as a lot of people do, but then it came to a point [Hawks] From the people you’re supposed to get that support or comfort from, I didn’t get that either, so that was a burden to me. Then he killed me mentally. I was like, no power to anything, like I was in a dark place.
“The first thing for me was deciding that I really have to get right. It’s not a physical thing, it’s my mind. I think the first thing to acknowledge is a huge step for me. I need to address this, I need help in these areas. To be able to Doing that, that was the beginning of getting to where I am now. I’m in a great place and I feel comfortable talking about it now.
“Those were some dark days for me and especially, everything is public. This is the craziest part.
“It’s something that everyone goes through different struggles, some bigger than others, but everyone has their own battles, and I think that was hard for me, just because I didn’t really get that support from my teammates or whatever it was at the time. .”
What you need to knowSimmons cited his mental health as a reason for his limited involvement with the 76ers when he first joined the team ahead of the 2021-22 season.
10. Simmons addresses the Hawks series
“I think it was me and it was such a buildup over time that I was like turning it to the side and not tackling my mental health. It’s hard to do when you don’t really know, like, ‘F—why do I feel like this?'” Why do I feel this way?”
“Once I could really process that, I was like, ‘Oh -, I want to make myself okay, I want to get to a good place mentally to be able to do my job and learn to deal with the things that I’m dealing with the right ways and not get sucked into a downward spiral. Downfall. Because there are a lot of people who go through it and never address it.”
What you need to knowSimmons averaged 6.3 points, 9.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds over the last three games of Philadelphia’s second-round game with Atlanta in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
11. Simmons gives his side of a missed layup
“The minute I just rolled around and I assume Trae will come in faster, so I think he’s going to be fully engaged. I see Matisse [Thybulle]’You know Matisse is athletic and can get up, so I’m thinking of a quick pass and he’s going to get rid of it, I don’t know how much space there is.
“It happened so fast that you’re just reading. In qualifying, you need to make the right decisions most of the time.
“At that moment, brother, it happened and I was like, ‘Okay, and–, now we have to go make another play. “This is the way I think and I didn’t realize how everyone posts such a large volume?”
“When I look at it now, I’m like, ‘I should have punched those things–‘” Simmons continued. “But it didn’t happen, and I was OK with that, I can live with that, I can live with everyone trying to kill me over a play. one. It’s as if everyone wants to watch the movie with me. Like, the whole arena I can dissect everything if you guys want, but that’s not realistic. “
What you need to know: It may be the most talked about layup in NBA history.
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