It’s no secret that fingers have been pointed in the direction of 76ers point guard! That’s right, Ben Simmons mistake is being labeled as the primary reason for their early dismissal from this year’s NBA Playoffs. Sunday evening the 1st seeded 76ers were outworked and outplayed in a game 7 vs the mediocre Atlanta Hawks.
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If you were watching the game or are active on Instagram then you are most likely aware of one of the many key moments throughout the game. However, this moment may play bigger than any other time and lead up to the questioning of Simmons’ ability to be a starting point guard for a championship-contending team.
With 3:30 remaining in the 4th quarter and each team going back and forth on the scoreboard, Simmons backed his way into the paint against longtime veteran Danillo Gallinari.
Simmons able to shrug off the defender had a wide-open lane to the basket, but instead of taking the two easy points he passed it off to a teammate eventually leading to one point being scored on the possession.
Simmons Mistake | Round 2 Struggle
Ben Simmons’ struggles in the 2nd round were so apparent that the Hawks began intentionally fouling the All-Star point guard. The Hawks were right in doing so as he only shot 32.7% from the free-throw line. Across the last three games of the series, Simmons combined for a total of just 19 points.
In game 7, Simmons finished with five points, thirteen assists, and eight rebounds going 2-4 from the field in 36 minutes played. How are you supposed to win when the team’s All-Star point guard is attempting four shots?
Simmons will ultimately be remembered as a failure and the player that passed up on an open dunk in a game 7. Is there anything else he should be remembered for in his time with the 76ers? Perhaps, that time he made his first three-pointer and the crowd went nuts?! Just kidding, you’re in the NBA Ben Simmons, you should be able to hit a shot beyond the arc.
The common NBA fan will agree on one thing: the game can be won or lost in the 4th quarter. Sometimes, fans will only tune in for the 4th quarter as the three leading up to it are not nearly as important. A team can win a game in the 4th quarter with a combination of aggressiveness and smart decisions, neither of which Simmons embodied in their series versus the Hawks.
Ben Simmons 4th quarter stats vs. 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
It’s pretty clear the Hawks succeeded at what they set out to do in facing Philadelphia: get in the head of Ben Simmons. Intentionally fouling Simmons and sending him to the line was a key component in leading the Hawks to their eventual success. Ultimately, he went silent and was an irrelevant asset the 76ers carried.
Embiid and Rivers Reaction Postgame
Anyone that stuck around for the postgame press conferences was able to catch a peak as to what may be the 76ers main priority this upcoming offseason: dealing out Ben Simmons. Joel Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers had no issue in throwing their star point guard directly under the bus following their defeat.
Embiid didn’t hold back saying, “I mean, I’ll be honest. I thought the turning point was when we – I don’t know how to say it – but I thought the turning point was just when we had an open shot and we made one free throw and we missed the other and then they came down and scored…”
When asked if Embiid would like to see the 76ers run it back next year, he quickly responded stating, “That’s a tricky question.”
Asked if Ben Simmons could be a point guard on a championship team, Rivers responded “I don’t know the answer to that right now.”
It seems more than likely that Simmons will be in another uniform when the 2022 NBA season arrives. Co-star Embiid and head coach Rivers display little confidence in their starting point guard reasonably so.
While Simmons offers tremendous upside on the defensive end of the court, his limitations on the offensive side make him a major liability and someone that will potentially be traded this upcoming offseason. The 2016 #1 pick looks to redefine his game and establish himself as one of the best all-around point guards league-wide wherever he may end up.