If You Hate Ben Simmons, it’s Time for an Intervention
Ben Simmons haters pull up a chair. We need to chat. Now, I’m going to say something. You may not like it, but you need to hear it: Ben Simmons is a vital part of this Sixers team. Not only that, but he is an incredible basketball player. These are factual statements. These are not controversial.
You’re probably clenching your fists right now as your face grows redder by the second. I see your anger, but I do not understand it, nor do I wish to. All I want is to bring you to your senses.
“BUT BEN SIMMONS DOESN’T SHOOT THREES! HE DOESN’T SCORE 30 A GAME! HE HAS A HOUSE IN LA!” These are all things you are most likely yelling at the screen right now. Well, I can’t hear you, so sit down and let me learn you a thing or two about First Team All-Defense and Two-Time All-Star Benjamin David Simmons.
Fans and pundits alike love to gush over how important Joel Embiid is to the 76ers, and they do so with good reason. He has gone John Wick on the NBA this season, averaging 29.1 points and 10.8 rebounds while shooting 55.9% from the floor and 42.3% from three-point land. The team struggles when the MVP front runner does not play, posting a 1-4 record without The Process.
Ben Simmons, on the other hand, has had a less statistically impressive season. His lackluster scoring numbers have led to an outpouring of criticism from the Philadelphia Phaithful, many of whom wanted Ben traded for a bag of balls and a half-eaten box of donuts. If a friend sent you this article, odds are you’re one of them. Lagging offensive output aside, Ben Simmons has been an integral part of this Sixers team’s success. The Sixers are 0-3 when Ben does not play. 0-3. That’s statically worse than 1-4 sans Joel. Oh, and that one win was a 20-point comeback against the Pacers due to an absurdly clutch performance from Big Ben, posting 21 points on 9/12 shooting. Not to mention, Ben displayed his legendary perimeter defense when paired with Matisse Thybulle down the stretch to ensure the win.
People still downplayed Ben Simmons’ role in the win on the offensive end. It would take an embarrassing loss without Ben on the floor to prove his worth.
Two games later, that’s what we got.
The Sixers took on a Portland Trailblazers team missing Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, and more. Fans expected an easy win, even without Ben Simmons. Instead, the Sixers were handed a 16-point loss at the hands of the Lillardless Blazers. Ben’s absence was the main factor in the loss. The Blazers hit threes at will, something Ben’s length and speed around the perimeter could have prevented. To make matters worse, the Sixers seemingly refused to make a three-pointer until the middle of the third quarter. Ben Simmons sure as hell is not the man that would’ve made those threes, but his court-vision, ball-handling, and passing ability would have created better looks for the shooters on the floor.
After the loss, Sixers players and coaches alike spoke directly to critics of Ben Simmons. Doc Rivers was diplomatic in his approach, but his message was clear: “That’s the point I try to make to you guys when you talk about Ben not making 3s. I keep trying to tell everyone, Ben’s value is so much more than what you guys are talking about.”
Joel Embiid reinforced Doc’s sentiments in his post-game press conference. But that just was not enough for our EMVPiid, as he logged-onto Twitter to take it a step further:
Ben Simmons is such a dynamic player; his impact goes way beyond the stat sheet. He doesn’t put up gaudy scoring totals, but that’s because doesn’t need to. The Sixers have finally put talented scorers around him, which allows him to run a winning offense. He has Joel, Tobias, Seth Curry, and others to put up the big scoring numbers. If you can’t see how integral Ben Simmons is to this team by now, then – in the words of Joel Embiid – you must not watch the games.
Mandatory Credit: CBS Sports