Another bizarre wrinkle has unfolded in the Ben Simmons saga.
On ESPN’s “First Take,” host Stephen A. Smith received a text during the show that focused on Ben Simmons’ work ethic since he has been with the 76ers. Smith told viewers his source was someone who is “very, very close to the situation in Philadelphia.” He then read the text aloud.
“He doesn’t work, he doesn’t listen, and everyone around him is family, and he’s constantly babied,” the source told Smith.
After an awful playoff series in which Simmons refused to shoot in the fourth quarter of Game 7, the former first overall pick has been greeted by harsh criticism. He was told by Shaq he would’ve “knocked [Simmons’] ass out” if they were teammates. His coach was even unsure if he could lead his team to a championship. Not to mention the memes all over social media.
Even after getting tongue-tied and not being able to answer if Simmons could lead the 76ers to the promised land, head coach Doc Rivers still wants to work with him this offseason. He even created a plan of action to fix Simmons’ self-esteem.
“I think some of the stuff is obvious,” Rivers said. “We’re not hiding that Ben has to become a better free-throw shooter, and a more confident free-throw shooter. If that happens, I really believe a lot of the other parts of his game will follow. I said that before the season started. The first thing I said was, ‘We got to get him to the line 10 times a night.’ So, we’ve got to put in work so he can get there. But if we can get him there, man, his game goes to a different level.”
Rivers’ plans might be foiled by Simmons’ attitude, if Smith’s source is to be believed. The 24-year-old point guard will have to get his game back on track and get back the confidence that made him a generational prospect. Otherwise, his time in Philadelphia may be cut short.