'Constantly babied': Ugly new fallout in Ben Simmons backlash

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Pictured here, Ben Simmons is spoken to by Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers.
Ben Simmons has come under intense scrutiny after Philadelphia's NBA Playoffs exit. Pic: Getty

It's been two days since ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers suffered a chastening exit from the NBA Playoffs and criticism of the Aussie star continues to roll in.

Simmons was a key figure in the Sixers' blown Eastern Conference finals series against the Atlanta Hawks - for all the wrong reasons.

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The 24-year-old's unwillingness to shoot from the floor, as well has his terrible free throw percentage, proved to be a key factor in their demise.

A horror series from Simmons was summed up by a shocking play in the crucial Game 7, where he passed the ball to a teammate instead of taking an easy lay-up.

Sixers teammate Joel Embiid - without directly naming Simmons - said in a post-match interview that it was the defining moment of Philly's Game 7 defeat.

The backlash against Simmons has led to renewed speculation that the Aussie will be traded away from Philadelphia, with ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith delivering another brutal shot at the Aussie.

Speaking on First Take, Smith referenced a text message he claims to have received from someone "very close" to the Sixers franchise, that shines an unflattering new light on Simmons.

“I just received a text from someone very, very close to the situation in Philadelphia about Ben Simmons, Smith said on the program.

"This is a quote, it’s not me, it’s them. Quote: ‘He doesn’t work, he doesn’t listen, and everyone around him is family, and he’s constantly babied’. That’s the word out on Ben Simmons."

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When the show's host Max Kellerman said the Los Angeles Lakers and the mentorship of LeBron James would be a good fit for the Aussie, Smith suggested that the move was a very real possibility for Simmons.

“Oh please, he’s represented by Klutch Sports. That’s close enough to LeBron James. They’ve talked," he said.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers softened his stance on the Australian's future, 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.

Sixers coach vows to work with Simmons

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.

"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.

The speculation around Simmons comes amid reports he's set to pull out of Australia's basketball team for the Olympic Games, in order to focus on improving his game.

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.

Seen here, Ben Simmons calls for a foul during the NBA Playoffs.
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)

“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."

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

The former NBA champion said it was the wait to see whether Simmons will commit, that he found frustrating.

“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.” 

with agencies

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