Ben Simmons is shutting out the Sixers and his teammates. The relationship is obviously damaged, but Simmons has no one to blame but himself.
The Sixers and Ben Simmons are heading for a split, and there are a lot of contributing reasons why. While the comments of Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid (especially Rivers) were unwise, the thread started unraveling well before that.
There’s a feeling from Ben Simmons camp that Simmons was disrespected by the organization following the team’s embarrassing Game 7 loss against the Atlanta Hawks. There’s certainly a slight point to be made as it was unwise for Embiid to make his “open shot” comment. Beyond that, Doc Rivers’ reply to the question of whether or not Simmons could be a point guard on a championship team was absolutely foolish.
That being said, Simmons’ issues with the Sixers, really the city of Philadelphia, didn’t start there. It’s just a convenient excuse.
This Could Have Been Avoided
Ben Simmons has played for the Sixers for four years and has been with the organization for five. In that time, he has seen tremendous growth defensively, but despite the many, many summer workout videos, Simmons’ offensive game has seen little to no improvement.
Some slight improvement as a passer, sure, but in every other conceivable offensive area, Simmons has dramatically regressed. The flat truth is that if Simmons had not gone through this regression, especially in terms of his aggression, then the comments from Doc and Embiid likely never happen. Beyond that, the fanbase would be behind him even more than they had been in the past.
During his time in Philly, Simmons has consistently shown that he and the city don’t exactly blend. His affinity for California has been well documented, and it’s clearly been a part of the divide between himself and the Sixers fanbase.
While it might be going too far to ask Simmons to embrace the city as Joel Embiid has, there’s certainly a vast middle-ground between that and his poor attempt (if any) to connect with the city.
The blueprint wasn’t hard. Work on your (whole) game, and enjoy Philadelphia. That’s all it takes to win over this fan base, and Ben Simmons chose not to do that.