Round 2 of the NBA playoffs starts tonight for Boston as the Celtics host the darlings of the basketball world, the Philadelphia 76ers in what is sure to be a rock fight played out on a basketball court repeated seven times.
There’s a ton of series previews out there so Hi-Top is going to do what Hi-Top does best and bring you the angles that only Hi-Top can and give you the skinny on the info you really need to know.
First up, if you haven’t read our history of the Best Fights from the Boston-Philly Rivalry, well than frankly you’re only hurting yourself. Larry Bird was out there trying to rip guys heads off during the Preseason!!!!!
As for the current crop of players, the man that really makes the Sixers tick is presumed Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons.
Simmons is a New Age Magic Johnson for one reason and one reason only –
HE CANT SHOOT!!!!!!!!
The dude literally does not take shots beyond ten feet.
Take a look at Ben Simmons’ Playoff Shot Chart:
His lone 3-Point attempt was an end of the half heave. In the entire Heat series he took two TWO shots that can be considered actual jump shots from distance. The ONE shot he made beyond ten feet was actually a ridiculous running fadeaway mistake of a shot and not an actual set jump shot.
You look at this shot chart and all the shooting percentage stats and say Simmons should be the easiest player in the league to defend against. Except he’s actually one of the hardest.
His own offensive game is predicated completely on driving to the hoop. So sag ten feet off him and dare him to shot an open jumper right? Easy Peasy MAC and cheesy.
Sagging way off opens up tons of space both visual and physical. It gives Simmons room to work up a head of steam on a drive or just sit back and pick whichever Sixer cutting to the hoop he wants. He’s too tall and too strong to be given that much space.
So get on up in his grill then right?
Well that just opens up more space for cutters. And most PG defenders are not nearly Simmons size to handle him in isolation.
So what do you do?
Well first off don’t ask some blogger who makes jokes on the internet cuz the Lil’ Dogg has no clue how to stop this insanity.
But thankfully the Celtics have the Bard of the Clip Board, Mad Brad, the one who knows about the X’s & O’s drawing up the defense.
In the Jan 11 loss to the Celtics Simmons was 8-12 from the field but ended the game -17 in +- . In the Jan 18 Philly win Simmons was a -3 in +-.
Granted these games were a loooong time ago in NBA terms and the Celtics were relatively healthy or at least didn’t have half their roster out on IR but what it shows is that Stevens knows how to negate Simmons influence. He has a plan. He always has a plan.