By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Writer
The NBA offseason is slowly coming to an end, and we are right around the corner from the start of the 2019-20 regular season. Expectations are very high for the new-look Philadelphia 76ers this season as they looked primed to make a serious run for a championship.
One player in particular that has looked ready to go all summer is Ben Simmons. After inking a max contract extension with the 76ers, we have seen some impressive footage of him working out. These videos have also highlighted that Simmons has incorporated a jump shot into his game, which has been his one major weakness throughout his young NBA career. This opens the question: Could a jump-shooting version of Ben Simmons generate MVP buzz this season?
There has been no doubt since Simmons has stepped on an NBA court that he is a special talent and will be for years to come. If he comes into this season with some short of jump shot, he will be primed to make a huge step in his third season. With already being an All-Star last season, the only next step is for Simmons to get his name thrown around with some of the league’s best, and I believe that with a jumper there is a case that he can.
Simmons' durability is a big advantage in today's "load management" version of the NBA
One thing that will help Simmons’ MVP case is his durability. With load management becoming a bigger trend among NBA stars, this has hurt their chances of winning the award. But a young star like Simmons has shown no signs of needing rest as he has been a workhorse for the 76ers since his rookie season. Through his first two seasons, Simmons has played in 160 games, which is very impressive for a player who had to sit their entire first season due to injury. Simmons should have the ability to showcase his talents in at least 78 games for Philadelphia this season if he continues to maintain his durability. While other players will be resting on a more consistent basis, this will only help his resume at the end of the season when the MVP talk starts to begin.
The statistical benefits of Simmons adding a jump shot to his arsenal
Adding a jumper to his game will greatly benefit Simmons' all-around numbers. For his career, Simmons has averaged just under 17 points per game, and if he adds a jump shot, that number could take a nice bump. Between knocking down more free throws and beginning to hit jumpers in NBA action, we could see Simmons go from averaging 17 points a night to upwards of 20 per night. Putting up over 20 points a night to go along with between seven and nine rebounds and assists a game will likely put Simmons in contention for the league’s most valuable player.
The role that team success has in choosing who is MVP
Another thing that will help Simmons’ case at the end of the season is the team he is playing for. Usually, the MVP comes from the top player on one of the top teams in the league, and, with the 76ers poised to be one of the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference this season, he has a case. There could also be some buzz for Joel Embiid based on this idea, but with the addition of Al Horford in the offseason and Embiid's seemingly newfound focus on load management, I see Simmons potentially having a higher chance at winning the MVP award. This means that, if Simmons is able to take the next step in his game, there is a very good chance that he will be the best player for the 76ers.
Overall - Final thoughts
These are just some of the points that could be made for why Simmons could have his name thrown into the mix for the MVP award this season. He may not win it this year, but he could still make a huge leap as he heads into his prime. Adding a jump shot will buff his scoring numbers, and it will open the floor more for him, therefore allowing his passing abilities to shine even more. This could lead to a jump in his triple-double numbers this year, which would only add more to his MVP resume when the time comes. One thing is for sure, Ben Simmons looks fully ready to take the next step in his career and it is going to be fun to watch.