The Philadelphia 76ers, who were heavy betting favorites to win their Game 7 Eastern Conference Semis matchup at home versus the Atlanta Hawks, succumbed to their fourth consecutive early playoff exit.
The lions’ share of the blame has to fall squarely on the shoulders and lack of shooting of Ben Simmons.
Remember when LeBron anointed Simmons, “Young King” on some Simba sh*t? We’re seeing now that Bron’s vote of confidence had more to do with the fact that they were both members of Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports Family and James is great at selling a brand.
Is it time to give up on trusting “The Process”?
Simmons 2017, 6’11 point forward who was the No.1 overall draft pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, has regressed in his shooting from the free-throw line, and let’s face it unless he’s around the rim he doesn’t even look to score the basketball as an offensive player.
Hell, he even passed on an open dunk with the game hanging in the balance and the Sixers trailing by two. That play right there was a microcosm of what the Sixers and their three-time (2019-21) All-Star player have become.
Since that performance, Simmons has been the whipping boy of NBA Twitter and other media outlets and trade rumors are rampant, with everyone offering their opinion on which team would be a good fit for the 6-10 point guard.
Bag of Jayson Tatum Ruffles pic.twitter.com/iCLiRw7rLp
— honestnbafan (@officalnbahater) June 17, 2021
I’m sorry but that play was just inexplicable and his “Trust The Process” partner Joel Embiid seemed to reiterate he thought the game’s turning point was that.
Instead of tying the game the Sixers were fouled and made only one of two free throws, the Hawks then went down and played with the lead and made a play they probably wouldn’t have if the game were tied or if they trailed.
Time and situational basketball are a real thing.
It’s become a mental block for Simmons as it pertains to his shooting or lack thereof. It’s in his head way too much and on top of that, he doesn’t have the skillset to be a good shooter.
At this point, Simmons is a partly-improved non-shooting forward who can push the break and defend positions 1-5 on that end of the floor.
Much like Rudy Gobert and Draymond Green, the DPOY has displayed some clear signs that he’ll never be a superstar, heck at the moment is he even a star?
The only thing that remains to be seen is what Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey could get for him by placing him on the trading block.
Head coach Doc Rivers, who some blame for enabling Simmons’ lack of development, comes up small in big games himself. In fact, he’s now lost four Game 7s in a row and has the worst record all-time in the penultimate game.
Rivers seemed fed up with Simmons and his idiosyncrasies on the court. The Championship coach didn’t hold back his true feelings when asked about Simmons in the postgame presser.
He was quick to say Ben needs to get back in the gym and practice free throws with no vision for tomorrow. But what he said after that further indicts Simmons and almost confirms that Morey may already have him on the trading block.
Doc was asked if Ben Simmons could be the point guard on a championship team?
“I don’t know the answer to that”
After 5 years in the league and 4 years of flattering to deceive, Simmons has pushed the Sixers to the end of the tether. We know when healthy Embiid is an unbelievable talent, as the big Cameroonian can flat boogie when he isn’t flopping or falling down.
But in the end, the Sixers can’t keep waiting for the guy who has the basketball in his hands so often to develop his free throw shooting or occasionally knock in a 15-17 foot jump shot to take some pressure off Embiid and others on the offensive end.
The fans aren’t waiting that’s for sure.
“Trade Ben Simmons” and boos
This is terrible pic.twitter.com/7kCa5WEyfe
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) June 21, 2021
Honestly, maybe getting booed out of his own arena will finally wake Ben Simmons up. Or at least force him to grow up and start being accountable. Start working hard, because up to this point things have come easy for the freakishly athletic baller from Australia.
Welcome to the real world. The test of a man’s character is how he rebounds after hitting rock bottom.