Ben Simmons has failed to improve his game in the NBA and on Tuesday he showed he hasn’t learnt from his past mistakes.
Simmons’ time in Philadelphia came to an disastrous end following an ugly post-season exit that saw the Aussie hung out to try by his coach and superstar teammate.
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In the dying stages of a fourth quarter Game 7 contest against the Atlanta Hawks, Simmons showed just how broken his offensive game was when he opted to pass off a wide-open dunk to a teammate who was instantly mobbed by Hawks defenders.
The moment brought to an end Simmons’ time in Philadelphia after he was torched by coach Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid post-game.
Fast forward almost 20 months down the track and Simmons’ game remains as broken as it was during that spectacular implosion.
In a game against the New York Knicks, which in the grand scale of the season means extremely little, the Aussie guard did it again.
After setting a screen for Cameron Johnson, the 26-year-old got the ball back with an open lane to the hoop.
But like it was against the Hawks, Simmons simply refused to go anywhere near the rim with the ball. This time he dished it off to a flat footed Nic Claxton.
The free throw line to Ben Simmons is akin to the bogeyman for young kids.
He wants absolutely nothing to do with it and throughout his tenure in the NBA he has simply not worked on or expanded his offensive game.
It’s not just the free throw line he steers clear of, he’s famously become a punching bag for never pulling the trigger from beyond the arc.
Through 315 career games, he’s hit a grand total of five three-pointers.
Now shooting isn’t his primary strength, when he’s on he’s one of the best defenders on the planet and his passing skills can be otherworldly.
The issue is that he’s not showing any signs of getting close to being that player and what makes it even worse for the Nets … he’s owed $A111 million over the next two seasons.
Let’s also not forget he’s still owed $15.5 million this season.
That is simply an egregious sum of money for a player who is currently producing career-low averages across the board with his output consisting of 6.3 rebounds per game, 6.1 assists per game and a measly seven points per game.
Simmons needs to do what he has failed to do since he was drafted back in 2016, work on and prove he can possess a functioning offensive game.
His career has fallen so far from his days in Philadelphia that he’s now a certified bench player for the Nets.
He came off the bench for a third consecutive game in the loss to the Knicks. He saw his minutes decline for the fourth straight contest, logging just 12:41 — even that total was padded by garbage time minutes in the fourth quarter.
Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said the team was still trying to figure out where and how to fit the Aussie into line-ups.
“What we want from each guy is to give everything, every ounce that they’ve got, every single game,” Vaughn said. “And all 16 guys are in that bucket.
“And trying to figure out what line-up fits around Ben, what position fits for Ben, how we can make him look good at every opportunity. That’s the goal, and I’m still trying to figure that out. That’s on me to figure it out. But overall as a team, we’re going to try to find line-ups to figure it out.”
Simmons had just two points, three boards and four fouls against the Knicks. While Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving could mask the weaknesses of Simmons playing at his best, the Nets can’t rely on him at his worst.
How can Vaughn find a non-star line-up that works with Simmons?
“It’s gonna be some work that we have to do, because you just take a look at what the line-ups could potentially look like,” Vaughn said.
“You put another big next to Ben, then you’ve gotta figure out what the spacing is around him. Then if you put another playmaker next to Ben, then you’ve gotta figure out what Ben looks like without the basketball.
“Then if you go small with Ben, then you’ve gotta figure out can you rebound enough with him. So the challenges are ahead of us. We’ll look them head on. We’ll figure it out. We have the personnel to figure it out. Whether it is me mixing and matching throughout different pieces of the game and allow him to have a group and run with a group. That part we’ll figure out. But you see the challenges that lie ahead.”
– with Brian Lewis, NY Post
Story Credit: news.com.au