'So afraid': Ben Simmons torched after brutal NBA playoff defeat

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Ben Simmons has been fiercely criticised in the NBA media following Philadelphia's brutal game five loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA Playoffs. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons has been fiercely criticised in the NBA media following Philadelphia's brutal game five loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA Playoffs. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Ben Simmons has once again found himself at the centre of trade speculation in the aftermath of Philadelphia's disastrous game five loss to Atlanta.

The 76ers, who finished the regular season as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, are down 3-2 against the Hawks after they surrendered a 22-point half-time lead at home in game five.

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Poor free throw shooting was again a theme for Simmons, who is on the hot seat as the 76ers head to Atlanta for a do-or-die game six.

Philadelphia were booed off the court by fans following the 109-106 loss, despite superstar Joel Embiid not at full strength thanks to a knee injury and shooting guard Danny Green out.

The Sixers were widely tipped to make short work of the fifth seed Hawks, who have emerged as one of the breakout teams of the 2021 Playoffs.

But with the Eastern Conference's top seed on the brink of being eliminated, Simmons' infamous inability to shoot from the floor or free throw line has once again come under the spotlight.

Highly-regarded NBA reporter Zach Lowe said it was now abundantly clear that Simmons would not lead a team to an NBA title as the starting point guard.

“It is clear that he is a really good player. It’s also clear that he could be a meaningful player on a really good team. What is finally clear to me though, and has been clear for a while, is that he cannot be the point guard on a championship team, he just can’t,” Lowe said on his podcast, The Lowe Post.

“The thing that is frustrating is the insistence from everyone — from Ben, from Doc Rivers — that everybody else is crazy.

“I can’t imagine another point guard in the playoffs being taken off the floor in the closing minutes in important offensive positions. 

"It’s absolutely insane and they’re now in this insane situation because of that.” 

Philadelphia 76ers fans turn on Ben Simmons after playoff disaster

Well-known for being one of America's most passionate sporting cities, Philadelphia fans were out in force after the game five defeat.

Simmons finished the game with eight points, nine assists and four rebounds, but once again his lack of shooting was the bone of contention for Sixers fans.

Broadcaster Howard Eskin said there was no possibility of Simmons living up to his $30 million (USD) a year contract until he started just trying to shoot the ball more.

“Ben Simmons is never going to change. You know what he’s happy about? That he’s making $30 million a year. Then he can post all his nonsense on social media,” Eskin said.

“I don’t give a damn about your car, Ben, I care about you shooting more than one shot in the second half. I care about you trying to take a 13-footer even though you suck at shooting from the outside. 

"Just give the other team an illusion that you’re going to try and score from other places on the court.

“He is so afraid and he’s so dismissive. I can’t say enough bad things about Ben Simmons."

Ben Simmons has made just 22 of 67 shots from the free throw line throughout the NBA Playoffs so far. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ben Simmons has made just 22 of 67 shots from the free throw line throughout the NBA Playoffs so far. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

It was a brutal reckoning for Simmons in the NBA media, with Philly Voice writer Kyle Neubeck arguing the Sixers needed a true point guard instead of Simmons.

“When push comes to shove and things get tough, the Sixers simply cannot trust Simmons to lead this team,” Neubeck wrote. 

“Leading, in so many words, is a point guard’s job.

“Simmons does not play for a scrappy high school team from the Hoosier State, led by a Bobby Knight wannabe who rules with an iron fist. 

"In this league and at this level, the point guard bends the will of the game to their liking. They do what is required, whatever that may be.”

Game Six between Philadelphia and Atlanta will get underway at 9:30am on Friday.

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