When an NBA team is able to predict how the opposing team is going to score, it becomes a lot easier to defend them and stop their attack.
For example, opponents facing the Philadelphia 76ers (who rely on Ben Simmons as a focal point on the offensive side of the floor) have to fully lock in near the basket if they want to slow down the interior threat.
Since his first professional game in 2017, including the playoffs, Simmons is connecting at a very impressive rate (68.5 percent) near the rim. During that same span, only four players have more attempts at the basket than Simmons has recorded. Overall, the majority of looks in his career (62.4 percent) have come at the basket.
In fact, per our research, the average distance of his shots since coming into the league is just 4.49 feet. Among all active perimeter players, that ranks as the shortest distance – and it’s not even close. Behind him is David Nwaba, whose career average shot distance is 7.34 feet.
Among the unexpected players whose range is farther away than the number from Simmons are bigs like Robin Lopez (6.27 feet), Boban Marjanovic (5.33),Nerlens Noel (5.07) and Hassan Whiteside (4.99).
There are tons of players who are prolific interior threats, like Russell Westbrook. But their ability to space the floor even a little bit by stepping back to shoot from either midrange or occasionally even beyond the arc helps create a more modern offense.
Ultimately, this is just further evidence that Simmons is anything but your typical point guard. Not only is his playmaking ability better than many that we have seen in NBA history but his shot selection is simply far closer to that of a center.
For more context, below are the active non-big men with the shortest average distance per shot made.
HoopsHype’s Alberto de Roa contributed research to this report. Data via Basketball Reference.
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