NBA

Exclusive Interview: Touted Basketball Trainer Olin Simplis Calls Evan Mobley a Garnett and Antetokounmpo Hybrid; Must Respect Steven Adams From Three Next Season

Evan Mobley, Olin Simplis, Steven Adams

Touted basketball development specialist Olin Simplis, also known as “The Guard Whisperer,” is known for honing players’ skills to perfection. Simplis works with talent from every skill level, ranging from youth to the NBA. This makes him adroit in fine-tuning the nuances of a players’ game, elevating them to a level very few trainers in the industry can.

Below, Simplis talks with Sideline Sources’ Wenzell Ortiz about working with Cavaliers star Evan Mobley and Grizzlies big man Steven Adams. The veteran trainer breaks down their training regimen, what they have been focusing on this summer, and his expectations for them next season, respectively.

Interview with Olin Simplis, aka The Guard Whisperer

Olin Simplis and Evan Mobley

The NBA, more than ever before, is inundated with elite perimeter players — and a modicum of the credit belongs to Simplis. Kevin Durant, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Spencer Dinwiddie and more, have all worked with The Guard Whisperer to unlock new facets of their game. However, these players were already versed in being a guard before training with Simplis. Therefore, they ostensibly belie his basketball acumen. 

It is his diligence with big men that truly represent his generational developmental skills. Simplis expands the skill set of the modern big to not only exist but thrive in an era ruled by guards. His work with Rookie of The Year runner-up Evan Mobley is a paragon for this.

Simplis emphasized that unlocking Mobley’s true potential is imperative. To do so, they prioritized three main things this summer, all centered around making his game more diversified and fluent.

“Evan is such a special talent,” Simplis explains. “We want to make sure we exhaust all of his tremendous potential. With that being said, we prioritized this off-season to improve on three things.

Firstly, his perimeter shooting — especially the three-ball. Secondly, Getting downhill with his second dribble and either elevating over the defender in the midrange or turning the downhill drive into a post-action. Thirdly, finally working back to the basket — having strong one-two go-to actions and counters off of that.”

These points of emphasis for Mobley, 21, mirror the skill set of Durant. Like the two-time Finals MVP, Mobley is a seven-footer with incredible length, as well as a capable handle. It is a matter of putting it all together. Simplis recognizes that the next step for Mobley is being in the conversation with the preeminent bigs in the league. He doubles down by calling Mobley a hybrid of two of the greatest bigs of all time.

“His next step is being in the conversations with the best bigs in the league,” Simplis on Mobley’s progression. “I see Evan as a hybrid between a Giannis and KG. The way Giannis takes the ball off the rim and puts pressure on the opposing team with the push and his playmaking abilities. KG’s back-to-the-basket turn-around actions. Just keep refining his overall game! The kid has a chance to be special.”

Mobley’s elite play last season warrants Simplis’ high praise. The former USC Trojan averaged 15.0 points, on 50.8%, as well as 8.3 rebounds during his rookie campaign. He also helped lead the Cavs back to Eastern Conference relevancy for the first time since 2018. His defensive prowess is already all-world since he was an All-Defensive candidate last season. It is a matter of opening up the court for him and forcing defenses to respect his overall game. With Simplis by his side, that is more than possible.

Simplis Talks Steven Adams’ Improved Shooting

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - MARCH 28: Steven Adams #4 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the game against the Golden State Warriors at FedExForum on March 28, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) Olin Simplis
Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

When talking about working with Steven Adams, Simplis said that expanding his range is most important. The veteran trainer is a proponent of Adams shooting threes. In many live game situations, Simplis said that the 29-year-old has shot the ball at a high clip.

“Steven Adams has been working with our team the last two off-seasons on his shooting and expanding his range,” Simplis said. “I’m a true believer in his ability to step out and shoot the three ball at this stage of his career. During many of our drills and workouts, we put him through game situations with live contests. To his credit, he shoots the ball at a high percentage during all our workouts.”

Despite having only one career three to his name, Simplis believes Adams can transition beyond the arc. It will be a move similar to Bucks center Brook Lopez’s. However, it is ultimately up to the discretion of the team as to whether we will see Adams draining threes next season.

“Honestly, the main objective is to have him be able to shoot the three and be a threat,” Simplis on Adams’ shooting. “Whether he gets the opportunity is solely based on the team’s needs and wants. We definitely want to be prepared in case that is required moving forward. Similar to how Brook Lopez has transitioned his game from low block dominant to a stretch five.”

Next season, when Adams is knocking down threes and Mobley looks like Antetokounmpo and Garnett’s basketball baby, remember the name Olin Simplis. 

For more on The Guard Whisperer, you can check out his Instagram. His contact info is in his bio.

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