Entering his third season in the NBA, 76ers point guard Ben Simmons is looking to take that next step. Last season, Simmons became an All-Star for the first time and helped lead the 76ers to the Eastern Conference semifinals. After re-signing Tobias Harris and bringing in Al Horford and Josh Richardson, to go along with what they have with Simmons and Joel Embiid, Philadelphia is expected to do big things this season. For that to happen, Simmons has to be at his very best.
“I think I’m locked in,” Simmons said at 76ers’ media day on Monday. “I don’t know what’s changed, a switch, or whatever it was, but I feel locked in; I feel ready. This summer has been huge for me. I’ve been working.
Recently, Simmons stated that he has fallen back in love with the game. On Monday, he explained how that happened.
“I think I was just too worried about what people were saying, and what was going on around, too many outside noises, and I was able to really block them out this summer and just not really focus on what people were saying,” Simmons said. “At the end of the day, I don’t really care anymore, unless it’s coming from somebody in my circle or somebody trying to help me get better.”
This summer, Simmons signed a five-year extension with the 76ers to be in Philadelphia for the next few seasons, and if he continues to grow as a player, Simmons will be an elite player, which he believes he is at this point of his career.
“I think I am an elite player. I think I am elite at what I do and what I did last season,” he said. “I’m happy to be here for another five years. I really don’t want to be anywhere else, obviously, so I’m excited about what we have going on. I’m excited about the new guys coming in. I think we have a real special opportunity to do something major here.”
Over the summer, a video surfaced of Simmons knocking down jump shots during workouts. At this point, Simmons is confident in the work that he’s put in.
“I think I’m just confident in the work I’ve been putting in,” he said. “That’s the best way to say it. I’m more confident in what I’ve been doing and the reps I’ve been putting in.”
Regarding Simmons as an elite player, I think he has to develop a consistent jump shot to make that happen, and if he does, he will be elite. Fortunately for him, he is only 23, so he has a lot of time to improve and become an elite player for years to come.