'Pretty rough time': Australia reacts to Ben Simmons bombshell

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Ben Simmons, pictured here in action for the Philadelphia 76ers during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Ben Simmons in action for the Philadelphia 76ers during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

Ben Simmons is officially out of the Tokyo Olympics, with Basketball Australia confirming the news on Tuesday.

The under siege Australian basketball star will instead spend his NBA off-season working on his skills after a disastrous performance for the Philadelphia 76ers in their recent playoffs exit.

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In a move many saw coming after the 24-year-old's inconsistent performances, Simmons indicated that while he remained committed to representing the Boomers now was not the time.

"It is a pretty rough time for him right now and I know it is something that he wanted to do, but the timing just hasn't worked," Boomers coach Brian Goorjian said.

"The best thing for everybody right now is for him to go on and develop that skill package and improve in a couple of areas for his next season in the NBA, but the Boomers are always here for him.

"We wanted him to know that in his time of need, the culture and the guys here are behind him and support him."

Simmons copped much of blame for the 76ers' loss to Atlanta in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Australian's struggles at the free-throw line impacted his confidence to the point where he began passing up wide open shots.

There has been much speculation the former No.1 draft pick will be traded this off-season, with 76ers coach Doc Rivers admitting after the Game 7 loss to the Hawks that he was not sure if his team could win a championship with Simmons running the team.

Rivers has since said he is "bullish in Ben still".

Ben Simmons, pictured here in action for the Philadelphia 76ers against the Atlanta Hawks.
Ben Simmons in action for the Philadelphia 76ers against the Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Australia reacts to Ben Simmons bombshell

Australia and the rest of the basketball world reacted to the news of Simmons' withdrawal from the Olympics with disappointment on Tuesday.

Boomers star Andrew Bogut posted on Twitter that Simmons’ decision was a “shame”.

Patty Mills expressed his disappointment but said the team would always support him.

“As a teammate, as a fan and as a supporter, we all want to see our best players putting on the green and gold and for me in particular, having that thought even to be able to share the court with Benny at some stage in the green and gold, is something I am always going to look forward to and unfortunately now is not going to be the time, and that is ok,” said Mills.

“This place right here, and the program we have developed, and how strong our culture is, this is one place for him that is always going to be here with open arms because we are mates. 

"We are teammates, we are a brotherhood and to be able to represent the green and gold, that is the culture that we have.”

“The number one fact and characteristic of our group is how we support each other through the good, bad and ugly, whatever it may be, and Ben isn’t an exception to that. 

"No matter what he does, myself and the team will continue to support him because this is a safe place – everyone needs to know and understand that now more than ever, we need to support Ben on his journey.”

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with AAP

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