Zachary Simmons Is Good

 

Previously, I linked to some of the good stuff Zach did against Tech. I wanted to discuss something else he did against UTEP last night. This play is not particular special in that it does not have some outstanding display of other-worldly athleticism like any Zion Williamson highlight. This is instead just good post play.

As my tweet highlights, the play has four things that are difficult for some players to master. Playing as the lone-big man is difficult and exhausting. Simmons has to battle all night and still do things that require good technique. Watch how he gets into position by setting a screen, sealing his man (who had helped on the screen by showing high) and holding him off.

Screen cap ESPN+

So much of any sport is doing the work before the play comes your way. This is good stuff. If we could get a great pas into the post he can simply turn and score. As it was, Woolridge had to toss it out a bit, but Zach still had the ball in a good spot to work on his man one-on-one.

Screen cap ESPN+

Zach then goes to work. This seems easy — I mean he is just backing down the defender, right? The answer is not really. Simmons is a right-handed player and every part of this is not necessarily natural. The balance and timing required to attack his defender from this position requires development. Finally he finishes at the rim with a nice left hook.

Screen capture | ESPN+

This again is not easy. Plenty of guys can do this in practice against ‘air’ but not against a guy trying to push you out of the paint. He gets his right shoulder into his defender, rises, leans and gets the soft, lefty finish there. It is simple, but requires so much skill and touch and hours in the lab.

All of the above skills are taught to big men throughout all the levels of basketball — well, they at least used to be — and while we all favor bigs that can screen and finish at the rim like Clint Capela, there is value in the traditional post-up play.

No, we do not want to take 35 of these a game, but it is unbelievably useful to have this in the repertoire.