Ben Simmons doesn't want to be with the Philadelphia 76ers and refuses to do anything more than the absolute bare minimum or pretend to care about making things work with the only NBA team he's ever know. People can project deeper meaning onto the situation through the lens of player empowerment or any other high-minded idea but the truth of the matter remains quite simple. Doc Rivers' job is to figure out a way to get his team over the hump and into the NBA Finals during Joel Embiid's prime. Realistic hope of Simmons serving an on-court purpose has apparently all but evaporated and though his the defensive stalwart's trade value is diminishing in real time, there are still some teams who will offer meaningful pieces in the hope greener pastures yield sunnier days.
Simmons' indifference has been on full display and things hit ahead during practice today when Rivers deigned to ask his young but embattled superstar to practice basketball. Shams Charania reports there was a brief confrontation that ended with Simmons literally leaving his ball and going home.
And honestly, good for Rivers for being a person willing to do his job. For not letting this malignancy take up residence and doom what still could be a very productive year for the Sixers. It's an easy call to make as he gets to project strength and seriousness against a player who continues to exhibit neither. The window for patience closed long ago and existing in this detrimental purgatory serves the franchise no benefit.
We could wake up in a Bizarro World soon that brings Simmons rejoining his team and committing to playing basketball. There's a sliver of a hope that this tough love will resonate on some level. Yet even if it doesn't, it's still a win for the Sixers. Both in practice, principle and the court of public opinion.
This soap opera has gone on long enough and it was long past time to send the cast's most difficult actors to practice lines with whomever can stomach that brand of drama.