Ben Simmons sets career highs and attempts 29 free throws in 76ers win

Ben Simmons posted one of the most intriguing stat lines of the year in a win over the Washington Wizards. His 31 points and 18 rebounds were both career highs, in addition to a team-best +/- of +11. But the story doesn’t stop there. The Wizards mounted a late comeback and got to within 3 points, thanks in large part to “Hack-A-Ben”. Simmons attempted a whopping 29 free throws, making just 15. The vast majority came in the fourth quarter, where the Wizards fouled Ben on 12 possessions.

Is there cause for concern? Probably not. Simmons was 67% free throw shooter on 9 attempts per game in his college days at LSU. Although far from stellar, that is clear of “hacking” territory. His NBA free throw percentage of 55% through 19 games is more likely a rough patch, with coach Brett Brown showing no hesitation in leaving him on the court.

When quizzed, Brown simply said:

“He’s going to learn from this. We’re going to grow him. He’s going to be in the NBA for 15 years. He’s going to have to navigate through this. I think he will grow from this”

Ben Simmons wasn’t particularly fazed himself, saying Hack-A-Ben is “not going to happen for that much longer”.

At age 21 Ben has plenty of time to develop a shot, but his shooting woes extend beyond the charity stripe. He currently makes just 33% of his shots beyond 10 feet and is yet to take a typical 3-pointer. Ben’s 7 attempts from beyond the arc this season have all been heaves with the clock winding down. This makes his rookie season production all the more impressive, with opposing teams simply unable to stop him inside. If When Ben Simmons learns to shoot, he becomes virtually unguardable.

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