On Monday, Ben Simmons spoke to the media for the first time since the Philadelphia 76ers lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Toronto Raptors in last season's Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Much has changed since then. Not only do the 76ers enter the 2019-20 season with a new roster, headlined by the front office trading Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat for a package centered around Josh Richardson and picking up Al Horford in free agency, Simmons committed to the 76ers this offseason by signing a five-year, $170 million extension.
Simmons covered a lot of ground during his media session, from what he learned from last season's loss, what he expects from the new-looks 76ers and - yes - if he plans to shoot more 3-pointers this season.
Watch Ben Simmons' media day press conference live! https://t.co/eNgpd0tJhq- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) September 30, 2019
Here are some of the highlights...
On the workout videos
"We've been working on everything, from ball handling to touch around the rim, floaters, jumpers, 3s - whatever it is. Just getting in a consistent rhythm, and I feel comfortable."
On 3s being a bigger part of his game
"If it's open, I'll take it."
On the impact of having a 3-point shot
"It just changes the dynamic of the game and the way guys have to guard you. Once I get into a rhythm and feel comfortable, I think it will change a lot of things. But everybody is always going to have a weakness at the end of the day. So once that starts happening, they're going to give you another weakness."
On falling in love with the game again
"I think I was just too worried about what people were saying, what was going on around, too many outside noises. And I was able to really block them out this summer and just not really focus on what people were saying because at the end of the day I don't really care anymore unless it's coming from somebody in my circle or somebody who is trying to help me get better."
On what he learned from last season
"I think the one thing I sat down and thought about was just what I want out of this game, and it's championships. That's what I want. I want to win rings. And in order to do that, I got to one of the leaders and got to lead by example, so I need to be better and get better."
On Philadelphia's defensive potential
"I'm looking forward to it. I want to be the best defensive player on the team, so hopefully everybody on my team hears that and they strive to do the same thing. But I know we have a great defensive team and everybody that we've acquired, also obviously Joel and even hearing Tobias Harris, he wants to take pride in playing defence. Just hearing that is huge because you weren't hearing that from the start of the year last season, so it's an exciting time for us."
On his individual goals this season
"To win a championship. Every other individual accolade comes along with doing your job. You can't go out and say you want to win certain things unless it's going to help the team win. I can tell you Giannis [Antetokounmpo] right now would rather have a championship than an MVP. That's just my mentality. I would rather win and see everybody on my team do well than individual accolades unless it's Defensive Player of the Year."