Ben Simmons has become one of the most unique athletes in the history of the NBA, as the First Team All-Defensive “Point Guard” has four years left on a max contract for a team that’s fanbase mostly wishes to trade the former first overall pick.
With all his issues, Simmons played an integral role in the Sixers success this pastBen season, as the second all-star talent alongside Joel Embiid helped lead the Sixers to a top seed and a second round playoff appearance but no further. After the season came to an end, Simmons had an opportunity to play for his home country in the delayed 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but instead seems likely to turn` it down for an offseason of personal training.
The Australian native’s struggles came to light for a national audience to behold in this year’s playoffs, with his many offensive shortcomings highlighted by boneheaded plays and embarrassing stats throughout the series.
Against Atlanta, Simmons posted the following stats: 42% from the free throw line; over 2.2 turnovers per game; perfect from the field in game one and 52% since. Combine those subpar plays with glaring deficiencies as a scorer and you find a disappointed fan base.
It’s been rumored Simmons plans on spending his offseason by working with various personal trainers, at the direction of his Agent Rich Paul and the 76ers, who have reportedly met about such matters. This move for Simmons though has apparently left the Australian National Team in the dark, with former NBA player Andrew Bogut publicly criticizing Simmons’ lack of a decision, per an article by Matt Logue on News.com.au.
“He is one foot in and one foot out with the national team,” Bogut said. “That has kind of been his memo.”
Bogut did however mention that he understands Simmons’ has undergone a lot of backlash recently since the Sixers’ playoff elimination.
“If he pulls out, it is fine, and people will understand. He has got other things he needs to work on, you’ve had a bad run and you are getting run out of town somewhat,” Bogut said. “The world has kind of turned on him in the last week. Everyone would understand that, but it is more the dangling carrot that he puts in front of Basketball Australia.”
Simmons is making a mistake with his decision to opt out of playing for Australia the Olympics, directly avoiding an opportunity to now only improve his game but also a chance to play in front of the world and improve his market value.