Many people were fooled by the Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons as a prospect. After all, he had a tantalizing combination of size, athleticism, and skills.
Simmons is 6’10, 240lb, with blazing speed and can jump through the gym. And, he’s always been an exceptional ball handler who can see the floor, while theoretically being a pest on defense as an oversized point guard.
That combination caused the Philadelphia 76ers to take the Australian out of LSU with the 1st overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. And, for a while it worked out well. He missed the entire 2016-2017 season with a broken bone in his foot, but he won rookie of the year in 2018 and made an all-star team for the first time the next season. He made two more all-star teams in 2020 and 2021, and looked to be a perfect sidekick in Philadelphia to Joel Embiid as the team was on the verge of a championship.
But, there was two rather large problems. The first is that Simmons never learned to shoot, not even a little bit. The second is that he has the mental toughness of a toddler who skipped naptime.
Both of those issues came to the forefront in a playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2021. Simmons was terrible in the series, and it culminated with him refusing to dunk in a crucial spot in game 7, a decision that may have cost the Sixers the series.
Thybulle did not convert both foul shots, costing Philadelphia.
That was the beginning of the end for Simmons in Philly, as he never played another game for the team. He was shipped to the Nets in the James Harden trade last year and now is without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, after the two of them were traded last in the last 10 days to the Suns and Mavericks, respectively.
He’s been a nonfactor this year, averaging just 7 points a game in Brooklyn, and he’s been relegated to the bench after the team acquired a multitude of pieces in those two trades.
Nets starting 5 today:
Cam Thomas pic.twitter.com/0pYtEHHKPb
— NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) February 11, 2023
He showed why last night. Presented with an opportunity for an easy layup, he instead passed into a much worse situation.
Ben Simmons is a cooked product pic.twitter.com/pGKNvTDFCK
— َ (@FeelLikeDrew) February 14, 2023
Yeah, he’s completely broken. As someone who has been a proud Ben Simmons hater since 2014, I couldn’t love it more.
The Knicks beat the Nets 124-106.