In 2019, when they got Ben Simmons to sign an extension of contract, the famous “rookie maximum extension”, the leaders of the Sixers certainly did not imagine finding themselves in such a rotten situation two years later, with a player who wants leaving even though he’s only entering the second year of this five-year, $ 177 million deal and his rating has taken a hell of a beating down in the last Playoffs.
That’s a long sentence to start.
A sentence that will always be shorter than the list of failures that have punctuated the relationship between the triple Australian All-Star and the Philadelphia franchise. A succession of mistakes or failed acts that, in the end, lead Ben Simmons to force an exit voucher at the worst of times for the Sixers. First, we have a multitude of small snags in the table of the Philadelphian Process, such as the procrastination of the front office on the type of players it takes to surround the duo Embiid – Simmons or the management of the case Jimmy Butler who had yet shown that a second creator was needed to allow Simmons to express his potential in different roles.
Then, big hitch there for once, It’s important to talk about Ben Simmons’ inability to progress in shooting since making his NBA debut four years ago. This greatly limits his offensive impact, robs him of confidence, exposes him to opposing defenses and made him one of the weakest links for the Sixers in the conference semifinals against the Hawks when he should have been. be an unmanageable threat. Add to that a big mouth proclaiming himself the best defenseman in the league, you get a player who, just as talented as he is, can clearly horrify fans and observers and even his teammates or coaches.
Then, the main reason that should not be forgotten in this whole story, the one that has been oozing for too long now: the compatibility between Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons is far from obvious, if at all. On a regular basis, it goes, it even happens sometimes. But when it comes to winning playoff battles in tight spaces and under constant pressure, it all crumbles tactically AND mentally. Because the agreement between these two stars is not strong enough? Because Brett Brown and then the Doc were unable to set up a game background to use such an atypical team? Regardless, in the end the result was the same in recent years: a good old disappointment when the time came for the post-season.
Finally, the trigger as often: the human, the psychological management of the troops, which normally happens to be a great strength of Doc Rivers … We can easily understand the disappointment and bitterness of the Sixers coach just after the elimination against Atlanta. And yes the journalist’s question, aimed at whether Coach Rivers believed Ben Simmons could still be the point guard for a title-chasing team like the Sixers, was vicious. But, from the height of his vast experience, how could the Doc answer anything other than: “Of course Ben Simmons is a starter in the lead in a team like ours playing for the title. He is still only 25 years old, he is the best defenseman in the league and a peerless passer. We are very lucky to have him with us and we know that we will all come back together stronger after this failure. ” ?
Instead, we got an awkward: “I don’t have the answer to that question”… Seriously Doc? And the answer to your team’s two huge chokes in matches 4 and 5, do you have it?
All this to backpedal stupidly, now that the situation is exploding. No but understand, it was the media who exaggerated his words as he explained well by promoting his podcast with Stephen A. Smith. Still, Ben Simmons was injured by this exit from his trainer. The leader in the winger body probably has a bad temper, he is his diva and surely refuses to recognize his share of responsibility in the separation that is looming but would he not be right in the background to want to leave a franchise that did not support him in a very difficult time?
What if Ben Simmons was not doing what it takes to give a new dimension to his career after this Sixers epic made of great successes but also bitter failures? The Sixers finished first in the East. Much has been said, and rightly so this season, about Joel Embiid, the MVP candidate. But who is the best and most versatile defender for the second best defensive team in the league while being the best passer? Ben Simmons. A very atypical player certainly but also very dominant… if he is put in the right conditions.
Give him a team that believes in him and really bets on him, sportingly. Give him the keys to the truck with space, shooters and defense to boost. Give him the opportunity to give everything without restraint, to make the most of his extraordinary athletic potential. Give him guys compatible with his unusual style, he’ll know how to make them better. And don’t tell me it’s too complicated, the Bucks have just been champions by having built around a Greek who does not make enough throws and who is not very dangerous behind the arc. Giannis dominates otherwise. Why couldn’t Ben Simmons also dominate otherwise, in his own way? He deserves better or at least something more than these Sixers. And besides, the Sixers could also benefit from a departure – even painful – from their nugget, by recovering in the operation what to create more space around Embiid and by having the opportunity to show that they are really capable of putting together a coherent title contender project, even after the playoffs have arrived. Isn’t that ultimately better than wanting at all costs to recover from a situation that is probably not?
Because whether we like it or not, these high-level sports stars are not employees like the others. In the NBA, when a star player is determined to arm wrestling, it is almost impossible for his management to keep him against his will. The risk of scuttling the balance of the team is too great, especially for a franchise that wants to contend. Money can sometimes settle things but in the case of the Boomer, given the amounts guaranteed to him over the next four years. Perhaps the Sixers will succeed in changing his mind but given the recent elements of the case, we strongly doubt it. So, let Ben Simmons play with his star power, even if it gets on our nerves. If he feels that this is what he needs, he is quite right! Let him do the forcing. Let him push his leaders to their limits. That he obtains his transfer in this brutal manner even if it means passing for a temperamental or a selfish one. A franchise will end up offering a package that Daryl Morey will not be able to refuse. This package will surely be insufficient in the eyes of the fans but it will at least have the merit of existing and of putting an end to a situation which cannot last.
Ben Simmons is right. He will certainly have his chance elsewhere. But beware, he will now be expected at the turn and if success does not come out of this next turn, he will not be able to speak out again on pain of being definitively cataloged among these talents who never manage to find fullness for lack of mind or work. Ben Simmons is building up the pressure and building up the pressure; He will have to progress in shooting in the perimeter, enter his throws and pass a mental course.
To be right is good, but then you have to assume.
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Alex’s post: Ben Simmons is right!