The 76ers continue to dance around the Ben Simmons situation
Ben Simmons returned to the 76ers yesterday and participated in his first practice with the team since last season. Shuffling through all of the reports, it seems like that it was the first time seeing and speaking with the majority of his teammates as well. I am fully aware it is such a small sample size of information from a single practice, but here’s everything that I don’t like about yesterday with Ben Simmons returning as we are just two days away from the 76ers 2022 season opener against the Pelicans in New Orleans on Wednesday night.
First things first, the Sixers are still unaware if Ben Simmons will be available to play in the home opener on Wednesday. Doc Rivers spoke yesterday saying that Ben was in good condition, but not quite in game shape, which obviously makes sense given the fact it was his first practice back.
“Right now, I’m just trying to get him back integrated and comfortable. When he’s ready, he’ll play.” – Doc Rivers
Rivers would continue to say that Ben Simmons was just one of the players today and the team jokingly re-introduced him to the team, and that he would “wait and see” if Simmons will play in against the Pelicans.
Yeah. Not really a fan of that. Simmons returned to the team a week ago today and entered COVID-19 protocols, which he cleared last Friday. Still, it appears that the 76ers organization don’t really know the status of Ben Simmons and his desire to rejoin the team.
Does anyone else feel like they are dancing around the issue? If they are in fact not addressing it directly, then aren’t we doing the same thing we always do with Ben Simmons, by coddling him and letting him dictate what happens on his own terms? I’ll leave those questions for you to answer in the comment section below.
Furkan Korkmaz said Ben Simmons did not address the team as a group, which again, doesn’t give me any type of confidence that Ben Simmons has returned to Philadelphia a changed man. After all of the offseason rumors and reports from Klutch Sports, Rich Paul, and the rest of Simmons’ camp, he is going to rejoin the 76ers and not address his teammates?
Tobias Harris took it a step further and said that Ben Simmons “didn’t have to” address the offseason. Over the past week, we also heard from Danny Green, who went EVEN FURTHER, by saying that Ben Simmons doesn’t even have to shoot because the 76ers were the number one seed in the East during the regular season last year.
All of these comments are concerning. Tobias Harris ruined everything by saying “we’re grown men here, this is not middle school – seventh grade, eighth grade. As soon as we step on the floor, it’s just basketball.”
Sorry for using a Howard Eskin tweet, but it’s all I have at the moment.
The irony. Everything that has happened over the last four months has been nothing short of an eighth grade cafeteria. The entire situation is a drama ridden, he said, she said, reality television show, Tobias. You need to address that as a leader of this team.
The realest, and most accurate analysis of the situation came from Joel Embiid, who was targeted directly in reports from Klutch Sports and Ben Simmons, when it was said that Simmons did not want to play with him anymore. Embiid handled these questions like a professional, saying that he believes Ben Simmons returning to the team gives the 76ers the best chance to win. Fine. The important part, was Embiid shooting down the notion that the 76ers didn’t build a team around Ben Simmons (ie Al Horford, Jimmy Butler) and took it a step further saying that we have all seen Ben Simmons’ offseason workout videos and that would definitely help the team.
Those are the types of topics that you want the 76ers to bring up with Ben Simmons. Shoot the basketball. Tell him that the reports that came out this offseason were untrue. For the love of God, make him address his teammates and promise them that change is incoming. How can the 76ers simply let him come back and act like this past offseason wasn’t anything but a complete disaster and a total distraction?
As I stated at the start of the article, it has only been a single practice with Ben Simmons back with the 76ers. This is something that no one even saw coming in the first place. But just looking at the information that we do have, I don’t like what’s being said or the actions of Ben Simmons.
Where is the accountability? Where is the leadership?
I hope I’m wrong but I would imagine Ben Simmons media availability will sound something like this:
“This offseason was tough but that’s behind us now. I’m back with the team and I just want to get back with my teammates, play basketball, and win.”
Changes are needed. Hopefully the 76ers don’t slow play that point with Ben Simmons. Season starts Wednesday. We should hear from Ben Simmons today or at the very latest tomorrow.