Ben Simmons discusses the 76ers and the disastrous NBA playoff experience

By | September 23, 2022

Ben Simmons mentioned he was in a “darkish place” after a playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks whereas with the Philadelphia 76ers, and the dearth of assist he obtained from his teammates made him “a heavy worth”.

Now with the Brooklyn Nets, the 2016 No. 1 draft choose has opened up about his experiences throughout a tumultuous time that started with the season-ending loss in June 2021 – which represented his ultimate look in a recreation of the NBA — and culminated in his eventual commerce to the Nets final season.

In between, Simmons was publicly criticized for his playoff efficiency by 76ers star Joel Embiid and coach Doc Rivers, demanded a commerce away from Philadelphia, and briefly returned to the staff solely to be kicked out of a pre-season coaching. Then, in a 2021-22 season during which he by no means tailored, he reportedly instructed the staff that he suffered from persistent psychological well being points.

In a prolonged interview on the “Outdated Man & the Three” podcast launched Thursday, Simmons instructed co-host and former bandmate JJ Redick, “It obtained to some extent the place after that [Hawks] collection – it is like, from the individuals you are presupposed to have assist from, or that reassurance, and I wasn’t getting that both, so it was only a lot – it was a toll for me. After which mentally, I simply – it killed me. I used to be like, ‘[Expletive], no vitality for something.’ I used to be in a darkish place.

Simmons then mentioned he was “in a fantastic place” and felt “comfy speaking about it now.”

“However these have been darkish days for me,” he continued. “And above all, all the pieces is public. That is the craziest half. Everybody goes via totally different struggles, some larger than others, however everybody has their very own battles.

“And I believe it was troublesome for me, understanding that I did not actually have that assist, both from my teammates or something at the moment.”

Throughout their dialogue, Redick introduced up various shared experiences, both as Sixers teammates, NBA gamers usually, or each having suffered again accidents. Now in his second yr of retirement, Redick, 38, performed with Simmons within the 2017-18 season, Simmons’ first as a full-time NBA participant after breaking his foot earlier than his rookie season, and in 2018-19.

On the podcast, Redick instructed Simmons that whereas he preferred Embiid and Doc Rivers, “They principally threw you underneath the bus after Recreation 7 [against Atlanta]. It’s indeniable. Simmons agreed with the assertion.

Redick was referring to feedback made by Embiid and Rivers after the loss to the Hawks during which the all-star middle cited a dunk Simmons selected to not try late within the recreation as a “turning level” within the loss, whereas the Veteran coach expressed uncertainty over whether or not the Sixers may problem for the championships with Simmons as the purpose guard.

Throughout this collection, Simmons typically appeared hesitant and, specifically, hesitant to shoot the ball. He set playoff lows in opposition to Atlanta averaging 9.9 factors and 6.3 rebounds, and he took simply 45 pictures in seven video games, none from three-pointers. His resolution to cross the ball near the basket late in Recreation 7, when a spinning movement within the low block appeared to work its solution to the rim, earned him criticism if not outright mockery from far past. past Philadelphia.

Simmons joked with the podcast hosts that it was a ‘hundred-point basket’, sarcastically arguing that the significance of his no-dunk was enormously inflated when it comes to how a lot it figured into the lack of the Sixers.

The 26-year-old ahead defined that after making his rotational transfer in opposition to Atlanta’s Danilo Gallinari, he thought Hawks guard Trae Younger was going to “come for the ball.” Noting that then-teammate Matisse Thybulle “is athletic and might rise up,” Simmons mentioned his thought course of was, “Okay, fast cross, he’ll flush it,” however misjudged the spacing between the gamers concerned.

Redick defined how Simmons won’t have absolutely acknowledged the lag straight away on Younger throughout a “bang-bang” recreation, however went on to acknowledge that “when it slows down, it seems actually unhealthy “.

“Yeah, that was horrible,” Simmons agreed. “Once I take a look at it now, I believe, ‘Dude, hit that [expletive].’ However that did not occur. And I used to be, ‘Okay, I can reside with that.’

“I imply, everyone seems to be making an attempt to kill me on one play. Like, does everybody need to watch a film with me? Like, the entire area? I can dissect all the pieces in order for you. However that is not real looking. »

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This offseason, Simmons staged a 76ers heist, however completed it in time to attend a pair of October exercises shortly earlier than the beginning of the 2021-22 common season. Calling Simmons a “distraction”, Rivers instructed reporters he fired his level guard from second coaching “to guard the staff”. Simmons was then suspended by Philadelphia for the season opener.

Within the model of occasions shared by Simmons on the podcast, he was making an attempt to “do good with my teammates…however I simply wasn’t into it.” [mental] place to play.

“I really spoke to Doc Rivers earlier than apply,” Simmons instructed Redick. “I used to be, like, ‘Doc, I am not prepared. Mentally, I am not prepared, please simply perceive this. I attempted to warn him earlier than. Then he goes, ‘Nicely , I am going to put you anyway.’ And he instructed me to return up. I checked out him. It was like a minute in apply. Like, ‘You are available.’ And I am like, ‘To begin with, no one’s doing this, you are doing it on function.’ And that is what I felt like, ‘Okay, so it looks as if everybody’s simply making an attempt to [expletive] with me now.’

“Clearly I did not deal with issues the precise manner,” he continued, “but additionally, neither did the staff, and the individuals who had that energy.”

Simmons added that “getting on the ground was my precedence, and I used to be making an attempt to get to a spot the place I used to be mentally good to do it.”

“I used to be in such a foul place,” he mentioned, “the place I used to be like, ‘[Expletive]I am making an attempt to get right here and also you’re throwing all these different issues at me the place you are not serving to.

“And that is all I wished was assist. I did not really feel like I obtained it from the coaches, the teammates – I will not say all of the teammates, as a result of there are some nice guys on this staff who’ve reached out to me and are nonetheless my pals – however I did not really feel like I understood that, and it was only a robust place for me.

After being dealt to the Nets in a blockbuster package deal that despatched James Harden to the 76ers, Simmons underwent again surgical procedure. He did not say on Thursday if he could be bodily prepared for the beginning of Brooklyn coaching camp subsequent week, however made it clear that he felt significantly better mentally and referred to as the staff setting Nets of “very calm”.

Simmons additionally expressed pleasure about stepping onto the court docket along with his Brooklyn teammates, together with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

“It’ll be sick. I can’t wait. … I am simply trying ahead to it,” Simmons mentioned. “I believe we’ve got a particular staff. I believe if we get all of it collectively, we’ll be the champions. That is the tip purpose.