"I feel like this summer I fell in love with the game again."
Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons earned All Star honors last year, in just his second season in the NBA, while averaging 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists per night. Not to mention, he guided the Sixers to a 51-31 record, marking the first time that the franchise had won 50+ games in back-to-back seasons since 1984-86.
In short, it was a successful second season for Simmons. However, he says it wasn't the most enjoyable.
During a recent interview with Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, Simmons explained how he "lost that enjoyment side" of playing basketball last season - but he fell in love with the game again this summer.
"I feel like this summer I fell in love with the game again," Simmons told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I kind of got back to who I was and having fun with the game. I felt like the past season I lost that enjoyment side of it but I feel like this summer has been huge for me. Just the work I've been putting in, I kinda fell in love with putting that work in again and I've been in the gym every day working and the results have been paying off so I'm excited for the season to start."
Simmons signed a five-year, $170 million contract extension with the Sixers in July, which would help just about anyone fall in love with the game again. As noted by the 23-year old point guard, he has also been putting in work on his oft-criticized jump shot and if he can get that thing under control it's going to be a real problem for defenses around the league.
"I'm ready to be who I am as a player, continue to develop, keep working," Simmons said. "It's a process. It takes time. Obviously, people always want to see results straightaway but that's not how things work."
The Sixers will kick off the 2019-20 season at home against the Boston Celtics on October 23.