'Can't lie': Teammate's brutal truth in Ben Simmons NBA saga

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Ben Simmons' ongoing refusal to rejoin the Philadelphia 76ers has left teammate Joel Embiid 'disappointed', but hopeful the Aussie will change his mind. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons' ongoing refusal to rejoin the Philadelphia 76ers has left teammate Joel Embiid 'disappointed', but hopeful the Aussie will change his mind. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Joel Embiid says he is 'disappointed' in Philadelphia 76ers teammate Ben Simmons' decision not to attend the team's training camp, but remains hopeful the situation can be resolved.

The Australian former no.1 NBA draft pick requested a trade following the 76ers disastrous exit in the second round of last season's playoffs.

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Simmons was viewed as one of the major reasons why the 76ers failed to live up to the lofty expectations placed on the team after they finished the regular season with the best record on the Eastern Conference.

Both Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers were critical of Simmons in the moments after their shock game seven loss to the Atlanta Hawks, however both sought to clarify their comments in the months since.

However with Simmons making good on his threat to Philadelphia management not to show up to training camp or even play for the team any more, Embiid couldn't help but be disappointed.

The pair have headlined what has been dubbed the 'Process' era for the 76ers, with Simmons and Embiid the two All-Star players the team had to show for several seasons of taking earlier in the decade.

With part of that duo almost certain to leave the team at some point, Embiid said he still held hope he and Simmons could achieve great things together.

"Honestly, I'm disappointed," Embiid said when asked what he'd say to Simmons.

"In the regular season, we've been so good and so dominant that we know it's working. It's about taking the next step and everyone playing up to their potential. To (be) able to win is hard."

Embiid addressed the criticism of Simmons following their game seven loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"I don't have any regrets because I didn't call out anybody," Embiid said.

"I just stated the facts. I'm honest and I can't lie. I don't feel like I put anybody in a bad situation where they had to feel bad."

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Simmons' inability - or unwillingness - to take shots proved costly during the series with the Hawks.

He also drew criticism for his performance at the foul line, where he made just 34.2 percent of his attempts (25 of 73) in 12 playoff games, after shooting 61.3 percent during the regular season.

However, Rivers and general manager Daryl Morey expressed hope that reconciliation can happen. Morey said he spoke with Simmons nearly seven weeks ago.

"We have a lot of optimism we can make it work," Morey said. "He is a great player and we expect him back. We expect him to be a 76er."

Said Rivers: "Clearly not an easy situation but it's easy individually. We're going to focus on who's here with hopes that we do have Ben at some point.

"It's tough to play here," Rivers said. "Ben didn't say that. I can't say he said that. That's just an assumption."

The 76ers made Simmons the No.1 overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft and in 275 games over four seasons, he is averaging 15.9 points, 7.7 assists and 8.1 rebounds. His 2020-21 averages - 14.3 points, 6.9 assists and 7.2 rebounds - were, however, career lows.

With AAP

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