'Disappointed': Aussie great takes aim at Ben Simmons over Olympics 'tease'

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Ben Simmons is yet to commit to playing for Australia at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, with his indecisiveness irritating former NBA star Andrew Bogut. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons is yet to commit to playing for Australia at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, with his indecisiveness irritating former NBA star Andrew Bogut. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Andrew Bogut has criticised Ben Simmons for not committing to compete for Australia at the Tokyo Olympics, with the Australian NBA star still not confirmed to be playing.

Interest in whether Simmons will make his first appearance at the Olympics in green and gold has intensified after the Philadelphia 76ers playoff collapse against the Atlanta Hawks.

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Simmons was a key figure in the blown series for all the wrong reasons, with his unwillingness to shoot from the floor, as well has his terrible free throw percentage, making his play a key factor in their demise.

Soon after the Sixers were bounced from the play-offs it was reported Simmons was 'doubtful' to play in Tokyo by ESPN's Brian Windhorst - however Simmons is yet to officially choose either way.

Former Australian NBA star Andrew Bogut, who like Simmons was selected first overall in the NBA draft, said he was 'disappointed' to hear Simmons might not join the Boomers in Tokyo.

“It’s obviously disappointing,” Bogut told Fox Sports News.

“He’s an integral part in what the Boomers are trying to get to and would be, and he’s the best Australian-born NBA player in the world.

“Am I surprised? No, definitely not. I had an inkling."

Simmons is facing a storm of criticism over his game, with his inability to shoot a key factor in the Sixers' demise and a flaw he pledged to improve upon over the off-season.

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While the criticism has been immense, Bogut said he would actually understand if Simmons skipped the Olympics to focus on the future of his own career.

What was frustrating for the former NBA champion was the waiting game.

“I think there were perfect paths to pull out whether it was having a rough shooting series, or going all the way to a championship series and then there would have been rest," Bogut said.

“It’s his decision.

“I’m not criticising him for pulling out to want to better his game, but it’s more of the tease and allure of is he in or is he not.” 

Sixers coach commits to addressing Ben Simmons' NBA flaws

Doc Rivers has softened his stance on the Australian's future at the Philadelphia 76ers, saying he's committed to fixing the All-Star's offensive struggles.

Simmons attempted just one shot in the fourth quarter in the final six games of the series - a total of 43 minutes played - and passed up a certain game-tying lay-up late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Game 7 loss to Atlanta Hawks.

Rivers hesitated to back Simmons when asked post-game if Philadelphia could win a championship with him at point guard.

But less than 24 hours later, Rivers said he remained "positive in Ben."

"I'm very bullish on Ben still," he said.

Ben Simmons scored only five points in Philadelphia's loss to Atlanta, which saw them eliminated from the NBA Playoffs. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons scored only five points in Philadelphia's loss to Atlanta, which saw them eliminated from the NBA Playoffs. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

"Sometimes you have to go through stuff to see it and be honest with it.

"There's areas that he can fix quickly in my opinion and get better, that can take him to another level.

"After being here for a year, I really do believe we've identified what and how, and now we have to do the do part.

"It's not going to be an easy job. But it's definitely a job that Ben can do."

Teammate Joel Embiid was also critical of Simmons' passive play immediately post-game, the conversation quickly turning to how the pair can return on the same court next season.

The 25-year-old has $140.4 million remaining over the final four years of his existing contract, leaving the 76ers with a tough sell ahead of them if they wish to pursue a trade. 

With AAP

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