If you follow the NBA at all then you know about the strange situation between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Last season in the playoffs the 76ers lost to the Atlanta Hawks in a deciding game 7. In the game a crucial play happened with 3 minutes left to play when Simmons passed up a wide open dunk to pass to teammate Matisse Thybulle. Thybulle got fouled, hit 1 of 2 shots from the line, and the 76ers went on to lose the game.
Ben Simmons had lost so much confidence in his shot, he didn’t even attempt a dunk.
Then in this year’s offseason Simmons requested a trade away from Philadelphia. The 76ers have yet to oblige saying that they haven’t found a trade good enough. Or maybe the book is out on Simmons that the pressure of big games gets to him and he chokes in big moments so nobody wants the risk of trading for him.
What I find so odd about Ben Simmons is that I’ve never seen a player be so terrified of taking a shot or making a mistake. When you watch him play you find yourself yelling at the TV, “Shoot it! What are you doing?” The guy almost never takes a jump shot. What is he so afraid of? Fans booing him? It’s not like somebody kicks you in the nuts every time you miss a shot. We all realize that players are human and nobody makes every shot. But to be afraid to attempt shots at all? That is so bizarre for an NBA player.
I wonder if Simmons thinks that if he misses one shot, then he’ll miss another and another. Until suddenly, he can’t make a shot at all. He gets removed from the starting lineup. Then his shooting remains so bad that he can’t even make the team- he gets cut. He goes to the G League, but he can’t even hack it there cause his shooting is so bad. So he gets cut from the G League. When he is out of the league, he loses his endorsements and salary and the money dries up. Friends and family desert him. Until finally he tries out for some schmuck league in whatever that country Borat is from. He makes the team for a while but he still can’t hit a jump shot. He gets cut from that team and then he is stuck halfway around the globe broke and having no way of getting back. So he has to get a job as a goat herder just to make ends meet and on and on….
So in Simmon’s mind maybe he is trying to avoid all this disaster by just not taking jump shots. He thinks that nobody will notice how bad he is at shooting and just notice him for all the other stuff that he does well.
Whatever the situation with Simmons is- the 76ers are definitely in a predicament. Ben is losing value by the day as other executives from around the league see what a head case he is. It is unlikely that he comes back to play for Philadelphia ever again as he has remained adamant that he will not. If the 76ers trade him, then they are punting on a former #1 pick and a guy with the potential to be defensive player of the year for the next 10 years.
The 76ers are putting up with Simmons “mental health issues” because they ultimately believe that he will come back and be a special player that they can win with. I would just start to wonder at what point pride kicks in and you go, “F*ck this guy. Let’s just move on.”
I really do hope that this story has a happy ending (gigitty) and that Ben Simmons can get back to playing basketball.
Maybe Ben is in the gym right now perfecting an amazing jumper, one to rival Steph Curry’s and the next time we see him, Ben comes out like Denzel in Training Day….
That’s the best case scenario.
However it plays out, I’ll just be glad to watch Ben Simmons playing basketball again. He could be an all time great player- if he ever gets a jump shot.