There are certain things that we, as a collective basketball-watching community, realistically never expected to see during a regular-season NBA game. Nobody will ever score 200 points in a game. Granny-style free throws won’t ever make a comeback.
And until Wednesday night, Ben Simmons actually making a 3-pointer belonged on that list. It was, simply put, a mythical event, one often-rumored but never seen. But against the New York Knicks, in front of his home crowd, Simmons launched a shot from the corner and sank it, making his first-ever 3-pointer in only his 172nd career game.
Simmons had previously attempted 17 total 3-point shots during his NBA career. He’d missed all 17, but in fairness, eight of those shots were considered heaves. Simmons did make a 3-pointer during the preseason, but he had not even attempted one this season. Technically speaking, that means he is shooting 100 percent from behind the arc this season, making him the league-leader in 3-point percentage by default.
This has been a great season for former No. 1 overall picks of the 76ers who have a history of shooting struggles. Markelle Fultz was traded by Philadelphia for a variety of reasons, but one of them was the inexplicable loss of his jump-shot after being drafted. While Fultz’s 21.4 percent mark from behind the arc this season is nothing to write home about, the mere fact that he has taken 3-point attempts at all is revealing. The six he has made so far this season eclipses his entire career with the 76ers.
Shooting is a learned skill. Nobody whose last name isn’t Curry is born with the ability. It may only be one shot, but it seems as though all of the work Simmons appears to have put in on his shot is finally paying off.