Ben Simmons is technically 0-for-7 on 3-pointers thanks to a pretty silly NBA rule
All of Simmons' 3-point attempts have come from well beyond half court
I thought I was losing my mind. I've watched Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons play a lot of basketball so far this season, and I've never once seen him attempt a 3-pointer. In fact, he rarely even looks at the basket from beyond the arc.
Yet there I was looking at the statistics, rubbing my eyes and questioning my chosen profession as I saw that Simmons has actually attempted seven 3-pointers this season. Really? Wow, I must not be as observant as I thought. I figured I would take a look at these high quality 3-point looks that he's been putting during the first month of the season.
One glance at the film showed me everything I needed to know. Here are all seven of Simmons' 3-point attempts this season.
That's right. Every single one of Simmons' so-called 3-point attempts has come from beyond half-court. Most from nearly full court. Some with one-hand. Yet these attempts count just as much as those from a centimeter behind the 3-point arc. It just makes no sense.
"What's the harm?" you may be asking yourself. Well, CBS Sports reader, I'm glad you asked.
Right now Ben Simmons doesn't shoot 3-pointers. The other aspects to his offensive game are so brilliant that, as of yet, he's decided to stick to what he does well -- probably a smart move this early in his career. But it's hard to imagine that Simmons won't, at some point, begin to develop his 3-point shot. And at that point, when he starts taking real 3-point attempts, he's going to be in an 0-for-7 hole, probably more, because of his end-of-quarter heaves.
In a time when 3-point shooting is at it's apex value in the NBA, contracts sometimes contain incentives about certain 3-point shooting benchmarks. We got the most vivid example last season when Trail Blazers forward Mo Harkless completely avoided shooting 3s during the final four games of the regular season since he didn't want to risk falling below the 35 percent mark, which would have cost him a $500,000 contract bonus.
Because end-of-quarter desperation heaves count as 3-point attempts, you better believe players with incentives like Harkless (or players who want to keep their percentages up for their next potential contract) consistently avoid taking risks as the clock winds down. You see it all the time, with players waiting that extra split-second after the clock expires to throw up a prayer. Star players have admitted as much.
"I can shoot the three well, but I just need to focus on not taking bad ones -- like half-court ones and ones in late shot-clock situations so I can have a good percentage," Wizards point guard John Wall said in 2015.
"It depends on what I'm shooting from the field," Kevin Durant said the same year. "First quarter if I'm 4-for-4, I let it go. Third quarter if I'm like 10-for-16, or 10-for-17, I might let it go. But if I'm like 8-for-19, I'm going to go ahead and dribble one more second and let that buzzer go off and then throw it up there. So it depends on how the game's going."
Luckily Drummond doesn't care about his 3-point percentage ... if he did, he may have chosen to just dribble out the clock after getting the rebound and the fans would have missed out on what was probably the most exciting and memorable moment of the game.
The fix is easy: Just don't count any shot that comes from beyond half court as a field goal attempt unless it goes in. What's the harm in that? It's not like anybody's squaring up from beyond half court unless it's a buzzer-beater situation, right?
You'll get more players taking long range attempts at the buzzer if there are no negative effects on their shooting percentage, which will inevitably lead to more makes, especially from star players. If he misses, it's like it never happened. Everybody wins.
Official scorekeepers already use their discretion with things like assists and steals, so save the "rules are rules" speech. The fact of the matter is, there's absolutely no reason that Ben Simmons should be 0-for-7 on 3-pointers when he hasn't shot the ball from anywhere near the 3-point line all season.
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