Bobby Simmons got a standing ovation from Clippers’ fans before he even checked into the Timberwolves game last Tuesday. He experienced his best year as a pro with the 2004 Clippers, and the fans did not forget; that year, he averaged 16.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and shot 43.5% from behind the arc. He won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award that year, and also inked his largest NBA contract the following offseason with the Milwaukee Bucks. Simmons definitely appreciated the ovation from the crowd. “It was great. Fan support is always great and just getting back in the swing of things and having an opportunity to be back on the hardwood.”
When asked what is different between Bobby Simmons then and Bobby Simmons now, he replied, “when I was here I was only 23, 24 years old and being up in age a little bit now, you learn from experience,” Simmons said. “And as you know basketball doesn’t really change.”
Simmons only has a 10-day contract at the moment, but he will make the most of it to prove to Del Negro that he can be an asset going forward. In his first game he was on the floor for 17 minutes, much to his surprise: “I think the urgency of playing well and just learning the offensive and defensive schemes and a lot of the terminology as far as what coach has for me,” Simmons said. “I think I’m picking it up pretty quick. I ended up playing 17 minutes today and didn’t expect it. It’s just a matter of being ready when I’m called.”
He will be expected to do the little things (rebounding, defense), while also giving the Clippers another legitimate threat from three point land. He’s a career 40% shooter from beyond the arc, making 358 in 895 attempts. Del Negro is definitely looking for him to create more space in the lane: “Bobby’s played in the league, you know, nine years,” Del Negro said. “He can make open shots and maybe gives us a little bit of a different look out there to space the floor a little bit more.”
He has only had one day of practice (Practice? You talking ‘bout practice!), but helped key the Clippers to a win against the Kings, scoring 13 points while shooting 3 of 4 from downtown. Simmons apparently doesn’t need practice any more than A.I. does.