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Ben Simmons was ripped by Stephen A. Smith for quitting on his groups. Right here’s what he means

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The 2021-2022 NBA season has ended for Ben Simmons with out the three-time All-Star enjoying a second of basketball. That truth grew to become official because the Brooklyn Nets had been swept out of the primary spherical of the 2022 NBA Playoffs by the Boston Celtics on Monday, ending an extremely weird season for each the franchise and Simmons.

The Nets acquired Simmons on Feb. 10 from the Philadelphia 76ers because the headliner in a blockbuster commerce for James Harden. Simmons had requested a commerce within the offseason and held out till he was despatched to a brand new workforce. Simmons nonetheless didn’t take the court docket when he was traded to the Nets, citing a again damage and psychological well being struggles stemming from his disappointing playoff efficiency for the Sixers final season.

The Sixers withheld practically $20 million in wage from Simmons for failing to meet the phrases of his contract. Simmons filed a grievance to recoup the cash. It’s laborious to discover a precedent for a 25-year-old All-Star selecting to sit down out the whole 12 months as a result of they weren’t pleased with their scenario, and it leaves main questions on Simmons’ future now that the season is over.

There have been reviews that Simmons was contemplating making his season debut within the playoffs. After the Nets went down 3-0 within the sequence, Simmons reported soreness in his again and sat out Brooklyn’s ultimate loss. Earlier than Recreation 4, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith ripped Simmons for a protracted historical past of quitting on his groups courting again to his faculty days.

“I really feel dangerous for anyone who was his teammate,” Smith mentioned of the Simmons scenario throughout halftime of Sunday’s Golden State-Denver sport. “He give up on LSU. He give up on the Philadelphia 76ers. And now, he ain’t displaying up for the Brooklyn Nets. We are able to level to all the justifications, all of the rationale behind it that we need to. I do recall, regardless of him not enjoying, he nonetheless filed a grievance to gather $20 million that he has not earned.

There’s loads of context for Smith’s remark. Right here’s Simmons’ historical past with LSU, the Australian nationwide workforce, the Sixers, and Nets.

Ben Simmons’ competitiveness was questioned at LSU

Simmons was extensively thought-about the No. 1 recruit within the nation after coming over from his native Australia to Florida prep powerhouse Montverde Academy early in his highschool profession. Simmons dedicated to the LSU Tigers partially as a result of his godfather David Patrick was an assistant coach with this system. Whereas Simmons’ LSU workforce had top-25 hype within the preseason, they in the end didn’t make the NCAA match by going 19-14 on the 12 months.

Simmons had a productive and adorned 12 months with the Tigers, averaging 19.2 factors, 11 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per sport on the season whereas being named SEC Freshman of the Yr, First-Staff All-SEC, and a First-Staff All-American. His play simply didn’t assist LSU win as a lot as they had been anticipated to. After the Tigers misplaced to the Texas A&M, 71-38, the SEC match, Simmons declared for the draft.

Simmons was overtly vital of the NCAA’s exploitative system throughout his season in faculty. NBA scouting reviews from Jon Givony of DraftExpress questioned Simmons’ aggressive make-up in the course of the pre-draft course of.

Right here’s what Givony wrote for Yahoo! Sports activities forward of the 2016 NBA Draft:

1. Simmons’ lack of competitiveness in some essential video games has raised questions on his character as a basketball participant. Whereas many prime picks succumb to the NBA star way of life and emerge as common opponents, it’s uncommon to see that on the collegiate stage. From Blake Griffin to Michael Beasley to Carmelo Anthony, these elite faculty gamers had been hardly ever questioned about their drive throughout their collegiate careers. Simmons has displayed an apathy for protection, contact and delivering successful performs in essential moments. These troubling revelations in Simmons’ sport are trigger for concern amongst decision-makers on lottery groups with whom we’ve had contact.

Simmons in fact rapidly grew to become an elite NBA defender — he completed second in Defensive Participant of the Yr voting in 2021 — however the pre-draft criticism is actually prescient in hindsight.

Simmons was nonetheless chosen No. 1 general by the Philadelphia 76ers forward of Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown.

Simmons has not performed for Australia in worldwide competitions as a professional

Simmons is the best Australian basketball prospect ever, however his dwelling nation has realized they’ll’t depend on him for worldwide competitions. Simmons performed for Australia’s 2012 U17 workforce and made his debut with the senior workforce on the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championship. The connection between Simmons and Australia Basketball appeared to bitter when he tried out for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup as an 18-year-old and was minimize from the squad. Simmons hasn’t performed for Australia since.

Simmons expressed curiosity in enjoying for Australia on the 2016 Olympics however determined towards it to deal with his rookie season within the NBA. Simmons mentioned he’d play for Australia within the 2019 FIBA World Cup earlier than dropping out on the final second. Simmons once more expressed enjoying for his dwelling nation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (performed in 2021 due to the pandemic) however once more dropped out because the workforce headed to coaching camp.

Simmons selected to not play for the 76ers after 2021 playoff collapse

Simmons had a rattling good 12 months for the Sixers in 2020-21 earlier than the playoffs began. He was named an All-Star for the third time in his 4 lively seasons, was named First-Staff All-Protection, and completed second in Defensive Participant of the Yr voting behind Rudy Gobert.

Simmons had an excellent sequence within the first spherical of the 2021 playoffs towards the Washington Wizards as Philly superior in 5 video games. Then the Sixers performed the Atlanta Hawks in a sequence they had been anticipated to win. As an alternative, Philadelphia misplaced in seven video games with Simmons receiving a lot of the blame for his poor play.

Simmons refused to shoot the ball late in video games, and shot solely 32.7 p.c from the foul line. He famously handed up a large open dunk late in Recreation 7. Head coach Doc Rivers and famous person heart Joel Embiid kind of threw Simmons beneath the bus following Recreation 7, and that was reportedly a giant purpose for his offseason commerce demand.

The Sixers refused to commerce Simmons till a famous person grew to become obtainable. Simmons held out of coaching camp and cited psychological well being points as the rationale he wouldn’t placed on a Sixers uniform once more. Philly lastly traded Simmons in Feb. when the Nets agreed to deal Harden for a package deal headlined by Simmons. Brooklyn was hopeful Simmons would swimsuit up after the commerce, but it surely by no means occurred.

Simmons selected to not play for the Brooklyn Nets after the commerce

Simmons ramped as much as make his season debut with the Nets after the commerce, however skilled a again damage in the course of the course of. The again damage mixed along with his psychological well being points had been the rationale he didn’t take the ground for Brooklyn.

There have been reviews that Simmons was set to debut for the Nets in the course of the playoffs, however as soon as Brooklyn went down 0-2 and 0-3 within the sequence, he selected to remain on the sidelines. Woj reported Simmons wouldn’t play within the Nets’ ultimate sport a day earlier than Recreation 4.

The Nets had been reportedly ‘exasperated’ at Simmons selecting to not play in Recreation 4 after hinting at his return, in accordance with ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Once I checked it out and talked to individuals concerned, they had been exasperated.

They had been identical to, “He awoke, and his again damage, and he wasn’t in a position to play.” And there wasn’t way more to say.

Simmons mentioned his again damage may very well be tied to his poor psychological well being:

In keeping with sources, Simmons instructed these within the room {that a} psychological block exists for him, courting partially to final summer time’s postseason, which is creating stress that might function a set off level for his again points.

The expectation might be for Simmons to be a full-time participant subsequent 12 months. The Nets might hold him to spice up the protection and playmaking round Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, or they may look to commerce him for a extra dependable participant.

Simmons is actually an All-Star caliber participant even when he isn’t an A-list famous person. It will likely be fascinating to observe his profession from right here after such an odd season.



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