Two years ago this week, Klay Thompson hobbled back onto the court after tearing his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals to effortlessly sink two free throws late in a tight game, barely grazing the rim on either. It’s impossible to imagine how much furniture Klay needed to move in his head to deliver in that moment, with a daunting 371 day recovery on the horizon.
Former Rookie of the Year, All-NBA selection, and three-time All-Star Ben Simmons was subbed out of the game late in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s historical loss after going a dismal 4-for-14 at the charity stripe.
👎 Ben Simmons has the WORST free throw % of ANY player in the #NBA playoffs by a LONG shot – 32.8% (20% worse than next player)
— Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) June 17, 2021
“Definitely, I think, mental,” he said after the game, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
When asked about being subbed out in the 4th: “Obviously I got to knock down free throws and step up and do that, but it is what it is. Coach’s decision.”
Simmons, a 60% career free throw shooter, has regressed so far in the playoffs he can no longer stop his face from hiding it. Every trip to the line, Simmons looks like he just realized he left his son behind while his family takes a trip to France.
The 24-year-old is shooting 33% (22/67) from the free throw line in the playoffs. Twenty two for sixty seven. For perspective, Seth Curry has made 32 of his 67 three-point attempts (48%) during the playoffs.
The Sixers shot poorly from the free throw line and the field, including superstars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 17, 2021
That’s one way to put it, Magic.
These stats will help you conceptualize how atrocious things have been for Simmons when all eyes are on him.
Worst FT% by a player in a single playoff run (min 50 attempts):
27.3 — Ben Wallace in 2006
32.8 — Ben Simmons this playoffs
37.3 — DeAndre Jordan in 2016 pic.twitter.com/PLyx2QwG3s
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 17, 2021
Doc Rivers biggest hurdle as a coach right now is to make sure Ben Simmons doesn’t go online.
Philly clowned Markelle Fultz shooting to give Ben Simmons a standing ovation every time he hits a free throw 😂
— Kevin Sooklall (@Kso_oklall) June 17, 2021
This 76ers fan is trying to teach Ben Simmons how to shoot a free throw 😂 pic.twitter.com/WAKNOJjXLn
— BroBible (@BroBible) June 17, 2021
Ben Simmons tonight became the third player in NBA history to score 8 or fewer points on 14+ free throw attempts in a game
— donte (@threevincenzo) June 17, 2021
Ben Simmons at the free throw line e pic.twitter.com/PmEhqhRp9q
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) June 17, 2021
— Jack Armstrong’s Burner (@JackBurnerAcct) June 17, 2021
— Coach O. (@CoachOllivier) June 17, 2021
“Ben Simmons to the free throw line” pic.twitter.com/eX5vM2fWiJ
— Matthew McGovern (@MatthewMcGovern) June 15, 2021
When does this become online bullying? Chrissy Teigen, can we get your take?