Ben Simmons will play a career-defining game 7 against Trae Young’s Hawks today. Shaquille O’Neal wants him to man up and get it done.
The Sixers star has been criticized by NBA fans across the world for his performances this postseason. Simmons came into the NBA armed with no shooting range in his skillset, and he’s essentially still the same player.
He was drafted to partner with Joel Embiid and win the Sixers a championship, but it seems all his improvements have come on defense. Simmons was named to his second All-Defensive First Team this year and finished 2nd in DPOY voting.
Meanwhile, his offensive production continues to primarily on pushing the ball in transition or playing in the dunker’s spot. Simmons has not been held accountable for not improving his shooting.
His free throw shooting has nosedived from below-average to historically bad levels. Simmons has been sent to the free throw line 71 times in his 11 games thus far, and he’s missed a pathetic 47 of those attempts.
It’s gotten to the point where you can legitimately rechristen Hack-a-Shaq to Hack-a-Ben. Teams know that when they need to make a 4th quarter run, all they’ve got to do is foul Simmons, watch him brick 1 or maybe both of his free throws and eventually save several seconds of game clock for their own offense.
Shaquille O’Neal challenges Ben Simmons to ‘man up’ ahead of Game 7 vs Atlanta Hawks
As an LSU alumnus, Dr. Shaquille O’Neal has a special interest in the first no. 1 pick from that school since the Orlando Magic selected him in 1992. Watching him brick free throws in such fashion and cost his team some close games definitely makes his blood boil.
Shaq has finally bottled all of his frustration with Ben into a simple, straightforward message. The Lakers legend challenged Ben fair and square to ‘man up’ last night.
“Hey Ben, you went to LSU – man up. Man up, stop messing around. Come on now. You know better than that.”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 20, 2021
Chuck tried to defuse the situation by poking fun at both Shaq and at his alma mater:
“In fairness, LSU hasn’t had good players since (Pistol) Pete Maravich.”
Shaq wasn’t going to let him have the moment this time around, responding with a solid comeback:
“LSU is the only team with 3 players in the NBA’s top 50 all time. Think about that. We’re the only school with 3 players in the NBA’s top 50. Out of all the schools, it’s the only school.”