Kobi Simmons was a highly touted recruit out of Atlanta, Georgia and committed to play basketball at the University of Arizona. He wasn’t terrible at Arizona but defintely underwhelmed. He was pegged as an athletic scorer out of high school but only averaged around nine points a game on a 50% TS. Simmons still decided to take his talents to the NBA but went undrafted and was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies.
As an undrafted rookie, Kobi got his chance with the Grizz and played in 32 games and started around 12. He showed some flashes including a 20 point, 7 assist game near the end of the year:
Overall, Kobi wasn’t really good his rookie season. In those 32 games with the Grizzlies, Kobi only had a 49% TS as scoring was supposed to be his calling card. Simmons actually shot 71.2% between 0-3 feet of the basket but he was miserable everywhere else, especially at the three point line where he shot 28.2%. He shot around 36% from three though in 26 games in the G-League on a higher volume so there was room for optimism there.
After the season though, the Grizz moved on from Kobi and he ended up with the Cleveland Cavaliers . He only played in one game with the Cavs last season as most of his notable action was in the G-League. However, the shooting that he had in the G-League the previous year didn’t last as he shot 28% from three on about four attempts a game.
Now, he’s signed with our favorite team, the Charlotte Hornets. Simmons does have a really good first step to be able to get to the rim and he’s pretty bouncy when he does get there. He doesn’t make super advanced reads but when he is able to draw two, he can make the simple read. The thing with him though is that he isn’t going to be able to use that athletic ability to get to the basket because he’s a career 28% three point shooter in the NBA. A guard can’t be effective at all shooting like that. Kobi does have a good free throw percentage (never has missed a free throw in the NBA and a 83.3% shooter in the G-League) and has decent touch so there may be some optimism that he can become a good shooter at some point.
However, Kobi has other deficiencies in his game as well. Kobi is 6’4 which is a good height for a point guard but he only weighs around 170-180. He doesn’t have the necessary strength to finish through contact in the NBA or to be any type of deterrent on the defensive end.
The best hope for Kobi is to become a microwave scorer off the bench. To be able to utilize his touch to make unorthodox finishes, shoot floaters and to be able to launch from three. He’s most likely a lost cause on the defensive end. Don’t expect to see him much this year on the Hornets roster unless something really goes wrong or he REALLY pops in the G-League. Devonte’ Graham should be very comfortably ahead of him for the backup PG spot and I’d honestly rather have Cody Martin as our third string PG because of his versatility to be able to play and defend multiple positions. I get that Cody isn’t a true PG but Kobi isn’t either.
Hopefully, Kobi can showcase a lot in the G-League this year though and maybe we find a guy worth watching to develop over the next couple years. I’m skeptical though and wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t play any minutes for the Hornets this year.
You can watch his highlights here: