Sixers Head Coach Doc Rivers appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” to discuss the Ben Simmons situation and gave his star a vote of confidence.
There’s no apparent reason why Rivers decided to join Stephen A. Smith to openly discuss his disgruntled star, but it could be rationalized that it was an attempt to reach out to Simmons. It’s been well documented that Simmons said his peace and then effectively dropped the mic refraining from communication with the organization after that.
With no clear path to Simmons’ ear, whether it be Daryl Morey, Joshua Harris, and Doc Rivers himself, someone decided this was in the team’s best interest, and Doc acted accordingly. Rivers clearly had an end-goal in the appearance, and it’s likely that involved his faux-apology, and in hopes, it would reach Simmons’ ear.
It certainly wasn’t a heartfelt apology as Rivers claimed his remarks after the fateful game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks were misrepresented but what Rivers did say at least showed he’s attempting to take those words back. Doc Rivers didn’t mince words when it came to his alleged belief in the Sixers guard.
Rivers credited Simmons for his performance last season, stating:
The one thing we did do last year was we gave him the ball. We put the ball in Ben Simmons’ hands, and he led our team. He led it to the best team in the East in the regular season and one game away from the Eastern Finals. We can win a title with Ben; I just believe that.
There’s no clear answer as to if this was an honest attempt to mend bridges, an attempt to satisfy Simmons’ ego with empty words, or a desperate hope of reminding the public (including other teams) of all that Simmons’ does well. Regardless though, it’s clear the Sixers aren’t happy in their current situation, and they can’t be blamed for that.
With less than one week before the start of training camp, the Sixers are closer every minute to facing reality both without Ben Simmons and without a trade package in return.