Doc Rivers jokes about Dwight Howard being Ben Simmons' new 'shooting coach'
River's Jokes About Simmons' New 'Shooting Coach' originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Dwight Howard isn't a fiver, a fact that head coach Doc Rivers playfully reminded reporters of after Thursday's Sixers practice session.
Rivers was asked about the Sixers' 35-year-old backup center, which put up Springer with Ben Simmons after the team's 113-107 win over the Wizards on the opening night.
“It made me nervous,” Rivers quipped, “that Dwight was his shooting coach last night. I will re-evaluate my employees. "
For the little that's worth it, Howard made nine NBA three-pointers compared to Simmons two.
Of course, Howard is not solely responsible for Simmons Springer. The assistant coach Simmons was assigned is Sam Cassell, a head coaching candidate this off-season who ultimately followed Rivers from the Clippers to Sixers. Cassell is the one who guides Simmons through his pre-game shooting routine.
"Sam has done a wonderful job with many guards throughout his career," said Rivers. “I think he's excellent in this area. I think his knowledge is great for Ben - what to run, when to run, where to go, where to run, where to attack. I think Sam is just great. I think he's one of the best players in the league and I don't think it's close. "
If you ask Simmons, Howard is already an important influence. At this early stage, the seasoned tall man appears to be a much bigger addition to Cassell, though he doesn't offer the same wisdom as a former NBA point guard.
"Something I have to do," Simmons said on Wednesday night of his post game shoot. "Just get back on the floor. Dwight was pushing me to get better, so he came down on the floor with me and fired a couple of shots. He just pushes me.
"He wants me to be great and I really appreciate that and respect him very much, especially when it comes to his career. He's someone who came into this organization and pushed me and believed in me. To have that and someone to have that done You feel good, want to work, make you hungrier. To have that is great. "
From today's perspective, Simmons remains an excellent all-round player, with the exception of his shooting. Despite making his first professional three-point shooters last season, Simmons was 4 to 30 in two-point shots from 10 feet and more. Attacking the rim and pulling more free throws are not a shooting focus for Simmons this year. He collected 16 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and two steals against the Wizards. His longest field goal attempted a missed 13-foot pull-up in the first minute of play.
After the Sixers won a victory, he worked alongside Howard. Aside from all jokes, Rivers thought that made sense.
"I thought it was great," said Rivers. “I thought it was great, # 1, that he wasn't out there alone, but with another player. I loved that it was Dwight. We see Dwight in his career in many ways. He was a dominant player when he first walked in and then he lost himself for a while.
“Then last year was a resurrection for Dwight Howard. He couldn't be signed and then goes to the Lakers and wins a ring. In this Denver series, they don't reach the finals without Dwight Howard. That changed Dwight too. Now he knows what winning looks like. The fact that he can share some of that knowledge with Ben and Joel (Embiid) is priceless. Same goes for Danny Green. "
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