Simmons had eight points, three rebounds and seven assists but the reigning rookie of the year caused a stir on Monday when he took the first legitimate three-pointer of his fledgling NBA career.
Simmons rarely attempts a jump shot outside the key and the Boston Celtics took advantage of that in last year’s play-offs by daring him to shoot.
When queried about the shot that bounced off the rim the Australian downplayed it.
“[They want me to] be more aggressive, take more open shots, and just try to grow my game in that way,” he said.
“It takes time but I’m going to get there.”
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said he spoke with Simmons about expanding his game with longer shot attempts.
“We have a window of 27 or whatever amount of games left and I’d like to try some of this stuff prior to the All-Star break,” Brown said.
Sixers star Joel Embiid said he let out an expletive when he saw Simmons fire up the three.
“It caught me off guard,” Embiid said. “And then I’m in a position where I’m like, what just happened?”
On a possible working relationship with Simmons, Johnson said it was the Australian who had contacted him.
“He reached out to me, not to me directly, but to the Lakers, to find out if we could get together this summer,” Johnson told reporters.
“I said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to clear it with the league’.
“Everybody, the Sixers sign off, we sign off, the league signs off that there’s not nothing going on.
“But he wants to know how to play the position as a big guard.
“It’s fine, I will do that, but if everybody doesn’t sign off, then we can’t get together.”
Simmons is expected to sign a $A200 million-plus contract extension with the 76ers in the off-season but the Lakers could be on his radar.
James proved his admiration for Simmons last week in the All-Star game draft when he dropped an expletive when opposing captain Antetokounmpo chose the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year.
James was so keen to add Simmons to his All-Star squad he traded former NBA MVP and eight-time All-Star Russell Westbrook for his 22-year-old protege.