Former Philadelphia 76ers legend Charles Barkley blasts Ben Simmons, calling the Philly All-Star “scared” of shooting the ball.
After last season’s playoffs sweep, the Philadelphia 76ers entered this new campaign in red hot form. Backed by the All-Star pair of MVP finalist Joel Embiid and DPOY finalist Ben Simmons, along with a few more key acquisitions, the team looked more determined and complete than before.
The Sixers went on to finish the regular season with an Eastern Conference-best 49-23 record, making them legit title-contending powerhouses. However, despite being a star-studded team, Philly was handed a second-round exit by an inexperienced and young Atlanta Hawks team led by 22-year-old Trae Young.
While no one can outrightly blame Ben Simmons for yet another early playoffs exit, his pathetic offensive performance did have a major contribution in Philly’s falling. Missing tons of free throws, passing the ball away on open layups, the Australian playmaker has not lived up to his true potential at all.
“When you’re giving the ball up that quickly, you’re scared to shoot”: Charles Barkley on Ben Simmons
Throughout the playoffs, teams have used the “Hack-A-Ben” strategy, putting the 3-time All-Star on the charity stripe. The 24-year-old has been dreadful from the free-throw line, knocking down only 25 of 73 free-throws, shooting at an awful 34%.
During the “NBA on TNT” postgame show, former Phoenix Suns legend Charles Barkley criticised the 2018 ROY. Chuck blasted Ben:
“We didn’t know he couldn’t shoot, coming out of college. We thought he would get better. He hasn’t gotten better, that’s the problem. Nobody thought he would be scared to shoot. He is scared to shoot. When you’re giving the ball up that quickly, you’re scared to shot.”
“Coming out of LSU, we did not think it was gonna get to the point where he goes all these games and won’t even take a shot. He won’t even take a shot. That’s the point that I’m trying to make. We knew he is not a great shooter. But like wow! We never thought it would get to this point, am I right!?”
Sir Charles is absolutely right. In the biggest game of their season, Game 7 of the nail-biting series, when a team would expect their star player to step up, Simmons took only 4 shot attempts in the 36 minutes he played. He merely finished with only 5 points in an unfortunate 103-96 loss against the Hawks.
Well, what done is done. The Sixers organization can’t change what happened. However, the team can make amends for the upcoming season. Even though there are trade rumors surfing Simmons, he needs to block out any outside banter. His task this offseason should be drastically improving his free-throw shooting before the commencement of the 2021-2022 campaign.