By Dylan MacKinnon
Ben Simmons has yet to actually speak in his own words to explain his side of the story in this saga. But we have a good idea of how he feels from the seemingly never ending parade of excuses that come from his camp. At one point it was because of the fans. He also blamed Doc Rivers now infamous “I don’t know,” comments, Embiid’s postgame comments, Daryl Morey’s attempt to trade Ben for a top 5 player in the NBA. Later he claimed to be dealing with mental health issues. He complained about the expectations put on him. All among a plethora of other excuses. The latest today came in a story from ESPN Reporter Ramona Shelburne, wherein he played some old hits, and even released some new jams as well.
To start, his camp once again blamed the comments of Embiid and Doc Rivers.
“According to sources close to Simmons, he’s upset that Embiid seemed to blame him for last seasons playoff loss, when Simmons did not blame Embiid for Embiid’s poor showing in the playoffs against the Toronto Raptors in 2019.”- from Ramona Shelburne’s article
There is so much wrong with this statement from Ben Simmons camp. For one, you played bad in that Raptor’s series too Ben. You averaged just 11.9 pts and 4.9 assists, and your defensive numbers were down as well. Both you and Embiid played poorly in that series. You deciding to now throw him under the bus to try and make yourself look better in fact just shows how petty and small a person you are.
But also, Embiid did not just blame you for the loss vs Atlanta. Did he mention that you passing out of a dunk hurt the team? Yes he did. But you conveniently forget what else Embiid said. here is the full quote for all the people, including Ben Simmons, who ignore what Embiid actually said.
“I’ll be honest. I thought the turning point was when we – I don’t know how to say it. But I thought the turning point was just, we had an open shot and we made one free throw and we missed the other and then they came down and scored and we didn’t get a good possession on the other end and Trae came back and he made a 3 and then, from there down four. And then I got – it’s on me. I turned the ball over, tried to make something happen from the perimeter. But I thought that was the turning point.”- Joel Embiid after Game 7 vs the Hawks
Embiid blamed himself too. He called out Simmons for his mistake, but then took accountability for his bad turnovers. That is what makes Embiid different. He will take accountability when he does something wrong. He held himself accountable for the Raptors series, and held himself accountable for the Hawks series. And both times he responded by improving his game the next year. He was in poor condition in the Raptors Series. So he devoted himself to getting in shape. Then he had bad turnovers vs the Hawks, and he worked on his passing. Lets contrast that to what Ben Simmons said.
“I am who I am. It is what it is.”- Ben Simmons.
In fairness, Ben made some concessions that he was not good enough, but it is all empty when he has never showed the willingness to actually improve that side of his game. His pt. total has gone down almost every year. From a high his sophomore year of 16.9 pts per game, to a low last year of 14.3. He regressed in FT shooting, assists, and rebounds as well, as well. He is content with the player he is and doesn’t think his lack of aggression in the half court is an issue. So for Ben Simmons to throw Embiid under the bus here, when Simmons has refused to ever take accountability himself, is insulting.
But the story was not just Simmons once again throwing stones at the man he once called a teammate. There was a new and baffling complaint from the Simmons camp. Ben Simmons is upset that Doc Rivers never flew out to California to visit him at his training facility. But here is the thing, Ben also admits that he ignored the many attempts by Rivers to reach out to him. Rivers would call and text him all throughout the off season, and Simmons didn’t respond.
So is what Ben is saying he wanted is for Doc Rivers to decide to get on a plane and visit Ben uninvited and just hope that went over well? If your significant other ghosted all of your texts and calls, and then one day showed up at your door complaining you never visit them, you would get a restraining order against them because that is the behavior of someone who is not well. For Ben to have expected this from Doc Rivers is insanity. Lets just forget the part where all his team mates wanted to fly out to visit him and Ben told them not to bother.
Once again it can’t be Ben Simmons fault. Nothing ever is. When Sixers couldn’t trade him they were still willing to let him play given the fact they were paying him $32 million to do just that. But instead Ben Simmons showed up, was not engaged in the practice. When he was kicked out all the sudden this became a mental health issue for him. And on that topic, I am not a doctor. I am not going to sit here and try to diagnose the mental health of a man I have never talked to. And even if I had, I would still not be qualified to do so. But do you know who is? The team doctors. The same ones Ben Simmons refuses to meet with.
Every time Ben Simmons camp puts out some new statement or talks to some reporter, he only looks worse. All he does is blame others. A normal person would have taken the gripes he has, and proved his doubters wrong. Instead Simmons engaged in the most significant holdout potentially in Sports history. Despite having the max deal he can get, and it just starting this year, he choose to holdout. If he acted like an adult he may have been traded by now. But instead he hurt his own value and by extension make it harder to get what he wants. Now it seems he will sit out an entire season of Basketball just because someone said something slightly critical of him.
Make no mistake. This whole saga is 100% on Ben Simmons. It is not on Doc Rivers. Nor is it on Daryl Morey. And it is certainly not Joel Embiid. Ben Simmons and his camp, including Rich Paul, are the only people who deserve blame for this saga. This Ramona Shelburne story is only a reminder of how petty and small a person Ben Simmons truly is. He is incapable of self reflection, and incapable of accountability.