That season, Simmons’ free-throw shooting regressed once again, plunging back down to 60%, not quite as bad as his rookie-season marks but still a significant drop from his playoff rate. He also took just 25 shots outside of 16 feet after attempting 40 as a rookie. At one point during the year, Jim O’Brien, a longtime NBA coach and former Sixers assistant who was serving as a special adviser to Brown, posed a question during a coaches meeting. “Name me one area where Ben Simmons has improved,” he asked his colleagues. The room fell silent.
September 22, 2021 | 9:43 pm EDT Update
“I talked to Steph Curry a couple weeks ago, and I was asking him about young players he might have reached out to and guess who he said?” Jackie MacMullan remarked. “Darius Garland, Darius Garland, he loves Darius Garland a lot, a lot, a lot. He thinks that kid is gonna be a flat-out star.”