Ben Simmons is one of the most physically gifted basketball players in the world, listed at 6-feet-11 and has the handlings skills of a point guard and the speed of a small forward. However, the Philadelphia 76ers star delivered a performance on Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks that has him enduring some of the heaviest criticism of his career.
Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals contest between the Sixers and the Hawks was expected to be one best in the NBA Playoffs, but it looked like Philadelphia was going to walk off the court in a blowout until it all blew apart. The Sixers let a 26-point lead melt away and Simmons, who finished the game with eight points, nine rebounds, and 10 missed free throws, carries much of the blame. In fact, only Sixers big man Joel Embiid and shooter specialist Seth Curry scored in the second half for their squad.
Simmons is currently under a five-year, $177 million dollar contract, making him one of the highest-paid players in his generation of players. Simmons currently averages just under 16 points per game with eight rebounds and seven assists rounding out his numbers. A knock some have made about Simmons’ game is his lack of a jump shot and an overreliance on this athleticism. Still, with his unique blend of height and skill, Simmons has the potential to be one of the best to do it so the expectations are exceptionally high, especially since Philly went all in with him on the big contract.
Unfair or not, the NBA Twitter has been dunking on Ben Simmons since last night’s loss of 109-106 at the hands of Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks. Check out those reactions below.