Sixers Struggle to Move On from Ben Simmons Despite Playoff Collapse

by Max Osias ‘24

Source: Getty Images

Published Nov. 4th, 2021

For the Philadelphia 76ers, the 2021 NBA Playoffs ended in heartbreaking fashion as the team lost a tough series to the Atlanta Hawks. The usually-reliable Ben Simmons was largely responsible for the collapse, having one of the worst personal playoff performances in recent history. As the 2021-22 season draws near, the Sixers have made it clear that they are ready to cut ties with the LSU product.

During the Sixers playoff run, Simmons shot just 15 for 45 at the free throw line, an abysmal 34.2% free throw percentage. Simmons’ poor shooting made for the worst individual free throw percentage in playoff history of players with over ten attempts. As the series came to an end, Simmons became passive due to his low morale, causing the Hawks to force Simmons to the free throw line where he ultimately choked the series away.

On the night of the 2021 NBA draft, fans and NBA experts predicted a move would be made to send Simmons out of Philly. However, as the picks rolled in, Sixers fans became frustrated with management as they remained silent and failed to make a trade.

According to The Athletic, Simmons ignored teammates throughout the summer, choosing to fly out to LA and further stall the negotiations between Simmons and his teammates back in Philly, who remained in confusion.

Sixers center Joel Embiid recently went public with his views on Simmons, responding to media reports of a feud between the two players. Embiid bashed the media’s take, urging them to “Stop using [his] name to push people’s agendas” while also blaming the playoff collapse on a team failure, demonstrating selflessness throughout all this stress around Simmons.

Embiid finally got real and talked about Simmons always being the main priority to keep happy on the team stating “Our teams have always been built around his needs… even going back to the reason we signed Al (Horford), we got rid of Jimmy (Butler), which I still think was a mistake, just to make sure he needed the ball in his hands.” Simmons has clearly always been ball-dominant, an ironic development as he now demonstrates incompetency handling in late-game situations.

Recently, Simmons was fined $360,000 for skipping preseason activities, once again demonstrating a hesitancy to play for the organization. Despite this holdout, Simmons is likely to start this season in Philly. While Simmons is definitely a top-level player, his playoff struggles and off-court issues have left the Sixers unable to find a trade that is worth the cost of losing such a valuable player.

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