Former Sixer Ben Simmons is the next guest on fellow former Sixer JJ Redick’s podcast “The Old Man and the Three.”
There’s probably gonna be a lot to discuss on that one.
Once a cornerstone of the franchise as the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2016, and a massive sign that The Process was working, Simmons’ tenure in Philadelphia ended on bad terms that culminated in the infamous passed-up dunk against Atlanta in Game 7 two seasons ago. That play, and the ensuing response to it from coach Doc Rivers and star center Joel Embiid postgame, resulted in a months-long holdout that didn’t end until Simmons was traded to Brooklyn in February for veteran guard James Harden.
However, due to back issues and eventual surgery to address them, Simmons has yet to officially hit the floor for the Nets, though it seems like he will be ready to go when the new NBA season tips off next month.
Simmons became an unpopular figure among Philly fans because of his failure, and sometimes seeming refusal, to develop a jump shot, which restricted the Sixers’ offense in its toughest matchups.
Redick has acknowledged that frustration from the fanbase multiple times on his podcast but has also insisted in conversations with Matisse Thybulle, Joel Embiid, and even Trae Young that things didn’t fall apart because of a lack of talent or embrace of the city’s fans.
“I think it was more so…[the fans] didn’t feel like…they were hurt. You know how much they wanted him to shoot the ball, how much they wanted him to be better in their own ways.
He’s a great basketball player, he does so much on the basketball court that people should pay attention to. But they also felt like Year 1 to whatever year that was for him, they didn’t see any improvement. I think that’s the way I kind of understand, because when you look back at all the years, what was the biggest thing they wanted him to do? Shoot three or free throws or whatever that was, shooting in general.
I think they just felt like he had so long and there were no changes. I think that’s what kind of started the whole thing about everybody being mad and all that stuff.
I think he embraced them. I don’t know if they felt like he was genuine, but I feel like he embraced them.” [The Old Man & The Three]
Now Thursday will likely bring an opportunity to hear Simmons’ side of the story.
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