There is no hotter drama topic these days in the NBA than the Ben Simmons situation. After a disappointing and passive playoff performance in which his Sixers surprisingly lost to the Hawks, everything went downhill for the young Australian. His fans, teammates, and coach all turned their back on Ben as the constant waiting for improvement reached its end.
The relationship between Simmons and the Sixers is irreparable, as all the criticism got to Ben and forced him and his agency to find a new home. As it was revealed recently, Ben won’t be reporting to Sixers training camp even if he doesn’t get traded before the start, showing how serious he is about this decision despite all the fines and backlash he will receive. The Sixers have been put in a very tough spot, as there aren’t many suitors for the 6’11” point guard.
Despite being a generational talent, the flaws, work ethic, and disappointing playoff performances have drastically dipped his trade value and put the Sixers against a wall. Teams aren’t willing to give up too much for a player without a jump shot, as that could eventually force the Sixers to make a trade in which they get the short end of the stick. That is infuriating Sixers and NBA fans in general, as the fact Simmons still values himself so highly after these horrible performances is unbelievable.
Even the iconic pair of Hall-of-Famers and Inside the NBA on TNT crew members Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley had to share their opinion on the matter. As a former Sixer, Charles lives in Philadelphia over the summer and knows all the talk around the city regarding Ben Simmons, as he harshly criticized the Australian:
“Well, I’m disappointed in Ben Simmons. When you give somebody $200M to dribble a stupid basketball, and the only thing you asked him was be better as a player, and their first response is, ‘I don’t wanna play here anymore,’ that disappoints me as a player. It disappoints me as a fan. They’re not saying, ‘Hey, come over here and cut my grass.’ They’re saying, ‘Ben, we need you to learn how to shoot the basketball.”Charles Barkley, The Big Podcast with Shaq
Shaq decided to take it even a step further and offer Simmons a harsh reality check:
“I have G14 classification to say what I’m about to say. Ben Simmons, you’re not that good. And then in this league, you wanna be good? Or do you wanna be great? You’re not great. But if you wanna get to the next level, you have to be great and to be great, you have to work on your game. Don’t be putting pictures on your Instagram of your Ferrari or what actress you hanging around with around…they don’t give a s–t about none of that. They want you to come work and play hard…you hearing from some OG’s right now. You ain’t that damn good.“Shaquille O’Neal, The Big Podcast with Shaq
Charles and Shaq had no mercy, but when these two legends speak, you have to listen. When someone puts so much trust and belief in you, hands you the keys of the offense and a bag of money to play basketball in exchange for improving one single aspect of your game, that implies you doing your part. But instead, you dip at the first words of criticism and show your weakness. It shows a lack of character in Simmons, as he can’t accept that he has to work on his game to be a great player. Something he can be without a doubt with his talent. But for that, Ben has to put the work in.
Are the Sixers really the problem? Will Ben have a revolution with a new team? It is possible that a new city and franchise with help him restart and save his reputation. But at the end of the day, Ben is doing the Sixers dirty and staining even more an already damaged reputation. Hopefully, the Sixers managed to get something valuable in return, and Ben goes somewhere he will finally start playing up to his potential and show some determination. Maybe this reality check for Charles and Shaq will be what Ben Simmons needs.