Kobe delivers brutal Ben Simmons verdict
KOBE Bryant just cannot stop thinking about Ben Simmons' jump shot.
The NBA legend delivered another brutal assessment of Simmons' Achilles heel on Thursday (local time), despite the Aussie star cracking the NBA All Star game last month for the first time.
Simmons continues to develop as an all-court creative beast who's helped Philadelphia towards another top-four finish in the now star-studded Eastern Conference.
For all the steps forward the Aussie has taken recently, Bryant - one of the best scorers the game has ever known - just can't get past the fact the Australian hasn't yet been able to reach his potential because of his unreliable jumper.
In an exclusive interview with The Herald Sun, Bryant said Simmons would live to regret it if he went through his entire NBA career trying to overcome the fact that he appeared to be uncomfortable shooting the ball from outside the paint.
"He's got to get a jump shot,'' Bryant said.
"It sounds stupid and all that but I'm dead ass serious.
"Because if not, he will regret it when his career is over.''
He said Simmons' ability to dominate NBA games without a reliable jump shot was "astonishing" - and also predicted the Melbourne product still had a bright future ahead of him.
He said improving his shooting skills should be Simmons' No.1 priority - and the Australian should be waking up at 1am this off-season to go and practise shooting for 10 hours a day.
It is just one of many times Bryant has commented publicly about Simmons' refusal to shoot the ball.
After the Sixers were bundled out of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics last year, Bryant said: "Aesthetically I would say build that thing anew".
In April he also predicted Simmons' greatest improvement would come when he started shooting from long-range confidently.
"I think his development will come in shooting obviously," Bryant added.
"At some point he's got to be able to shoot that ball. Jason Kidd, when he came in the league, wasn't a great shooter, but he worked to the point where he became one of the best three-point shooters we've had in our league in history.
"That will be his next progression. That being said, even without that, he's been able to dominate and take that city of Philadelphia to a place where it hasn't been in a very long time."
Simmons' shooting struggles remain a point of interest for the entire NBA. Earlier this week he accidentally restarted the swirling debate about which hand he should be using for his dominant shooting hand.
Simmons had fans scratching their heads when he landed a shot with his right hand during his team's win over Orlando - adding fuel to the rumour he is actually right handed and has shot with his wrong side his whole career.