The hottest topic of discussion and rumors in the NBA for the past few days has been the situation regarding Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers. Reports have come out that Ben Simmons will not report to training camp before the season starts, seeking a trade to another team. This has been brewing for quite a while, as the turbulent and disappointing end to last season for the 76ers seemed to be the breaking point.
After losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals to the underdog Hawks in front of their own fans, everyone around the Sixers organization and fan-base started bashing Simmons. Due to his weaknesses and passiveness, fans have been critical of Ben for quite a while, so this was nothing new. But the fact his star partner Joel Embiid practically called him out, alongside coach Doc Rivers throwing him under the bus saying he doesn’t know if they can win a championship with Simmons, proved to be too much to ignore.
It’s only normal Simmons wants a change of scenery, but he brought all of this hate upon himself with his attitude and poor work ethic. The only problem is finding a suitable suitor for Ben that will be able to assemble a fair trade package in return. After all these disappointing playoff performances, Ben’s trade value has dropped immensely, as getting a star player in return will be a challenging task for Daryl Morey. The Sixers could have had James Harden straight up for Simmons at the start of the season, but now that kind of deal is unrealistic.
The whole NBA world is speculating where Ben could go, who the Sixers will get, and who is ultimately to blame for the break-up between the two. NBA Hall-of-Famer and beloved TNT analyst Charles Barkley also shared his opinion on the topic. Charles got drafted by the Sixers and played his first eight seasons in Philadelphia, as he has a lot of connections out there. Charles shared why Philadelphia fans got fed up with Simmons:
“I’ve been asked every single day about this Ben Simmons thing. I think what annoys Philadelphia fans the most… I think they’re mad because [Ben Simmons] is afraid. You watch the Bucks play and that boy Giannis ain’t no better FT shooter but he ain’t scared, he going man!”Charles Barkley, The Mike Missanelli Show
“Sir Charles” is on point. A lot of the problems Simmons has on the court can be assigned to his state of mind. The psychological aspect of the game is vastly overlooked, as all the pressure has got to Ben. His form doesn’t look bad; when seen in practices and workouts, Simmons is knocking down threes with ease, so what is the problem? Ben is having a hard time handling the spotlight and pressure on him, especially regarding his jump shot. If he managed to block out the noise and enjoy the game as Giannis did, he could finally make some improvements.
After all, we are talking about a 6’11’ point guard who showed superstar potential since the day he stepped on an NBA court. But there is where he stayed for the past five years, a prospect that hasn’t improved one bit. Is Ben or the Sixers to blame for the stagnation is up for debate, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter as their time together is coming to an end. Maybe a fresh start will be what Simmons needs to become the player everyone expected him to be, while Embiid and the Sixers could benefit from a new star in town. We will have to wait and see.