Case in point: On Monday night, with Embiid a late scratch due to back tightness, Simmons lined up at center for the Sixers at the Utah Jazz, the team with the best record in the NBA.
So what did Simmons do? Have the best game of his career, putting up a career-high 42 points to go with 9 rebounds and 12 assists – all while not taking a single shot outside the paint.
But the reason Monday’s performance was so eye-opening is that, despite his prodigious physical gifts, Simmons rarely imposes his will on the game like he did against the Jazz, particularly in the first quarter.
Ben Simmons, playing without Joel Embiid, scored a career-high 42 points against the Jazz.
“I feel like I’m figuring it out. Obviously, my scoring has been a lot higher the past five, six games. So as long as I can keep doing that and stay locked in and keep working on my mental [game], I think it’s scary.”
Over the past few seasons, there has been endless scrutiny of Simmons’ game – including the lack of a jump shot or the times he will disappear within Philadelphia’s offense.