It was cause for celebration when Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons sank his first career 3-pointer against the New York Knicks on Nov. 20. With the range-challenged Australian potting his second-ever shot from beyond the arc against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, his head coach issued a public challenge to the 23-year-old All-Star.
"This is what I want, OK - you can pass this along to his agent, and his family, and his friends, and to him: I want a 3-point shot a game, minimum," Brett Brown declared in the postgame scrum, per The Athletic's Rich Hofmann.
Though Simmons finally broke the seal, he's still only attempted four 3-pointers during the 2019-20 season, and never more than one in a single outing. In 181 career regular-season games, he has connected on just 2-of-21 long-range shots.
Brown sees one 3-point attempt per game as the start of something bigger, a shift toward Simmons becoming a high-frequency deep scoring threat.
"And when you say, 'OK, what's the (reasonable) number (of 3-point shots)?' I immediately throw out eight," said Brown. "For whatever reason, I'm not sure, but that's a number I think is attainable."
Nevertheless, Brown is aware of the basketball world's fascination over how the 76ers' former No. 1 pick will adapt to a game that increasingly values the 3-pointer.
"I think the drama of it is overblown," he added. "The reality that he can shoot, and that ultimately it's going to need to come into his game in a more pronounced way, just from an attempts standpoint - that's not overblown."