Ben Simmons was exposed during the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Though he has been considered the team’s second-best player behind center Joel Embiid, the 76ers point guard was absolutely atrocious against the Atlanta Hawks and it cost them. The Hawks ultimately bested the Sixers in this series, 4-3.
In seven games, Simmons averaged 9.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game. This is supposed to be one of the team’s superstars, one of the reasons Philadelphia was even there facing off against the Hawks. Instead, he scored five points in 35 minutes of action in Game 7.
He also took only three shot attempts (yes, THREE) in the fourth quarter. And folks, I’m not just talking about Sunday night. I’m saying Simmons attempted three shots during the fourth quarter in ALL SEVEN GAMES.
Ben Simmons in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Hawks:
Game 1: 2/2 FG
Game 2: 0/0 FG
Game 3: 1/1 FG
Game 4: 0/0 FG
Game 5: 0/0 FG
Game 6: 0/0 FG
Game 7: 0/0 FG
Just three shots attempted in each fourth quarter of the whole series…
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) June 21, 2021
That is unbelievably bad.
To make matters worse, Simmons even passed up on easy baskets during crucial moments. With the 76ers down 88-86 with three and a half minutes to go in Game 7, the former top pick decided to pass the ball even though he had a wide-open dunk opportunity. Check this out.
This play was the game. Not only did it cost points but it showed the team and fans just how far gone Simmons is. This ended the series. pic.twitter.com/XLqP9K2kfS
— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) June 21, 2021
It’s bad, folks. You know it’s bad. I know it’s bad. Heck, the only people who don’t know how bad it is are the ones who haven’t been watching the NBA (which I totally understand, by the way).
But you know who else is sick of Simmons’ passive ways? Shaq.
After the game, the NBA on TNT crew reacted to the series as a whole, so of course Simmons was going to be a topic of conversation. Shaq took the opportunity to rip into the young NBA star (are we still calling him a star? I don’t know):
“If I played Game 1 and 2 and I know I’m not helping my teammates, what do you think I’m going to do in Game 3? It don’t take seven games to realize that. I don’t wanna hear that, man,” the NBA legend said, via Fox News. “It don’t take seven games for you to know that you’re not playing right, get right. He didn’t get double-teamed, just be aggressive, that’s all I want. I don’t want to hear all that, stop that.”
Then, Shaq snuck in one more comment — the one that is getting all the headlines.
“If he was in my locker room, I would have knocked his ass out. I don’t want to hear that. Get out of my face with that,” he said.
Shaq on Ben Simmons' postgame comments: "if he was in my locker room i would have knocked his ass out." pic.twitter.com/YmzfU4zHs8
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) June 21, 2021
There are a lot of 76ers fans out there who probably feel the same way.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.