Stephen A. Smith put Ben Simmons in his place.
The Nets point guard took a shot at the 76ers — his former team — following their Eastern Conference semifinal playoff loss to the Celtics with a picture on his Instagram story of a glass of wine and Philadelphia’s blowout loss on the television in the background.
On Tuesday, Smith let loose on his “Know Mercy” podcast about the incident.
“The only thing worse than James Harden was that sorry trifling ass Ben Simmons. And I tried to be [nice] to Ben Simmons. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt,” Smith said. “How the hell are you talking about a basketball player, when you treat putting on a basketball uniform and dribbling — when you treat that if somebody asked you to get on the front lines in Ukraine to fight Russia.
“That’s how scared he is to play basketball.”
He said his peace on Harden’s lack of performance and his “disappointment” in Joel Embiid, but nothing held a candle to his heated take on Simmons, who was traded to Brooklyn after they gave up on their Harden experiment alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in February of 2022.
While in Philadelphia, Simmons — the No.1 overall pick to the 76ers in the 2016 draft — played in four out of his six seasons, earning three All-Star nods, a 2017-2018 All-Rookie, and two All-Defensive awards.
But his career output with the Sixers of 14.7 points, 7.5 assists, and 7.8 rounds per game, came to a halt during the team’s playoff stretch in 2021, only scoring an average of 11.9 points and was known to be an ineffective shooter on the court against the Atlanta Hawks, who knocked them out of the semi-final round.
He sat out the entire 2021-2022 season in Philadelphia, waiting for a move to a new team.
In his first season with the Nets, Simmons played just 42 games for an average of 6.9 points, 6.1 assists, and 6.3 rebounds per game due to a laundry list of run-ins, including a back injury, knee injury, and mental health. His promising production from the Sixers has not been seen.
“I mean, he’s the one that’s talking about it. They brought up mental illness. I didn’t bring that up. I didn’t say anything about that. I’m not making light of something like that. He brought that up,” Smith continued. “He said that was rationale. He said that he needed therapy. He said that he needed to talk to people. Then it’s a back injury. Then it’s a knee injury. It’s all of these excuses not to play.
“But that brother never missed a check though. He always make sure the check is in the account. And you are talking about James Harden and the 76ers — the team you quit on? The team you left hanging? The team that you were supposed to help deliver a championship as the number one overall pick in the draft? You! You! That’s you.”
Simmons decision to seemingly look to enjoy his former team’s playoff loss didn’t sit right with Smith, seeing it as hypocritical.
“Boy, I better not see him. All imma do is look at him. It’s going to be one of these,” he concludes as he flashes a look of judgement and disappointment before whispering “sorry ass.”
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