Ben Simmons has emerged from the COVID-19 shutdown willing to shoot three-pointers, with the Australian sinking one long bomb in the Philadelphia 76ers’ win against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The 76ers beat the Grizzlies 90-83 in a scrimmage at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, on Friday ahead of next week’s restart of the NBA season.
Simmons was impressive with nine points, seven rebounds, nine assists and three steals in 22 minutes on the court.
The Australian attempted his first three pointer in the first quarter when the Grizzlies left him open, but it bounced off the rim.
In the third quarter he was open again in a corner and buried his second and final three-point attempt.
The two-time Australian All-Star has been reluctant to shoot from distance since entering the NBA, allowing opposition teams to sag off him in defence and throw multiple defenders at the team’s All-Star centre Joel Embiid and other shooters.
76ers coach Brett Brown debuted his new starting line-up with Simmons moving to power forward and Shake Milton taking the reins at point guard.
Regular starters Embiid, Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson took their usual positions.
The switch did not have much of an impact on Simmons’ lethal game running the floor, scoring close to the basket and dishing assists.
Simmons also appears to have shaken off a pinched nerve in his back that sidelined him on February 22.
He was still out of action when the NBA season was suspended on March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 76ers play another scrimmage against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.
Their first regular season game of the restart is against the Indiana Pacers on August 1.