Now that we have all had time to digest what happened to the Sixers against the Hawks, it is time to go under the surface of one of the worst playoff performances in NBA history. The apparent culprit is Ben Simmons. His consequence? A trade to any team that is willing to take him, ideally a small-market, bottom-dwelling team as far away from the glitz and glamour he yearns for most. Before we excavate fresh artifacts from Simmons’ past seasons in Philadelphia, allow me to vent.
For all of the Ben Simmons enablers, I mean supporters, still remaining, here is a news flash — in the current NBA, it is imperative that you be a decent player on both sides of the ball. It is not like the NFL, where you play offense or defense. If Simmons were a cornerback or safety, perhaps he’d thrive without much criticism since he seems content playing defense. Well, this is the NBA, and he’s not being paid almost $30 million to simply stop another player from scoring.
If he is dealing with personal issues, he is human, and perhaps fans would share empathy. However, that being unexpressed, his apathy in press conferences is just a smack in the face to the fanbase, and at this point exasperation in this town has morphed into the most potent anger I have seen in my forty years as a sports fan.
Now, let’s dive deeper into the enigma Philadelphia has been forced to endure since 2016.
There are three specific reasons why Ben Simmons has lost all favor in the eyes of Philly sports fans. The horrific loss in game 7 to Atlanta stung, and his insipid contribution has sparked outrage and contempt in the hearts of Sixer fans. We must start with the attitude problem that has hindered his growth.
3 reasons Ben Simmons has lost the Sixers fanbase: Poor attitude
Over the course of his time in Philly, Ben Simmons has talked a good talk. He expressed his desire to get better and how he would improve. In a city like this though, talk is cheap. As the years progressed, his focus became singular, where his need to insert a perimeter game into his offense never materialized. How is this even possible when he had shooters and scorers who could have helped him with his shot?
With the right attitude toward improving his jump shot, he could have reached out to J.J. Redick and even Jimmy Butler for pointers. Extra time after practice, allowing the technique and work ethic of players like Redick, Butler, and even Tobias Harris could have gone a long way. Instead, he is seen after practice shooting 3-pointers with Dwight Howard. Are you serious?
His assumption is that he is good enough without a jumper. If this was the truth, we would have won the Hawks series, right? Well, chickens have come home to roost, and the lack of perimeter shot attempts in the regular season did nothing to help his confidence. The attitude that his defensive tenacity should appease fans was a faulty approach. Why didn’t his coaches try and get through to him and at least challenge him more?
Oops, my bad. They actually did. Do we recall when Brett Brown publicly lauded Simmons for making 3-pointers two seasons ago against the Knicks and Cavs, and in a press conference shared that he hoped Simmons would shoot one per game? I remember it clearly.
I also remember how many attempts he took after his coach encouraged Simmons to do something that would help the team in the long run. He shot zero 3-pointers the rest of the season. This defiance of a coach’s wishes is probably what Stephen A. Smith referred to recently when it comes to Simmons’ unwillingness to listen.
At the end of the day, Simmons has no interest or desire to improve his scoring. It is quite evident. He has told the fanbase, “I am who I am. It is what it is.” I am sorry, but that attitude absolutely will not cut it in Philly. You are basically telling millions of people that you are not willing to do what you need to do to help the team win. If he had any sort of grit or a care in the world about winning, he would adopt the mentality of Kobe Bryant or his mentor, LeBron James. Right now, Simmons does not have either, and I cannot imagine he ever will.