Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers were sent packing by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs earlier this month. The premature exit renewed pleas to shake things up in Philadelphia, which included the possibility of dealing the team’s franchise point guard.
Simmons had the chance to avoid conversation around his NBA future by opting to play for his native Australia in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics. However, it seems like 24-year-old will turn down the international opportunity.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons won’t participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games with the Australian team. Head Coach Brian Goorjian released a statement issuing his full support for the 76ers point guard.
“I have spoken with Ben and whilst we wanted him to be a part of our team, we understand and support his decision and he has made it clear that this is something that he wants to be a part of in the future.
“It is a pretty rough time for him right now and I know it is something that he wanted to do, but the timing just hasn’t worked.
“The best thing for everybody right now is for him to go on and develop that skill package and improve in a couple of areas for his next season in the NBA, but the Boomers are always here for him. We wanted him to know that in his time of need, the culture and the guys here are behind him and support him.”
Simmons will instead use the summer to focus on his “individual development” as he eyes what’s likely to be a tumultuous offseason. Australia will name its final team of 12 players in early July.
Simmons plans to concentrate his summer on individual development and Team Australia is understanding of the decision, Paul said. https://t.co/jQX1V4JwZN
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2021
Simmons could certainly benefit from a summer focused on improving his individual skills. His struggles from the free-throw line and his hesitancy to take jump shots proved to be problems during the 76ers playoff run, but if he uses the offseason to focus on those areas, he could return a different player in the fall.
Time will tell if he suits up for the Sixers when the 2021-22 NBA season gets underway. All Simmons can do is control what he can control and let the rest play itself out.