Philadelphia 76ers all-star forward Ben Simmons has no Olympic experience and he won’t be this summer. After initially showing interest in playing for Australia at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, Simmons’ agent Rich Paul confirmed that the All-Star Keeper had officially decided not to participate, by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Instead, Simmons will spend his offseason working on skills development after performing below the NBA playoffs.
Simmons shot a historically low percentage from the foul line during the playoffs, and his reluctance to shoot the ball made him a non-offensive factor for Philadelphia. After the Sixers’ second-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks, head coach Doc Rivers said the team had a plan in place to help Simmons develop his game during the offseason.
“I think some things are obvious,” Rivers said of Simmons’ improvement. “We’re making no secret that Ben has to become a better free throw shooter and a more confident free throw shooter. If that happens, I really believe a lot of other parts of his game will follow. I said that before the start. season The first thing I said was, “We have to get him in line 10 times a night.”… So we have to work so that he can get there. But if we can get him there, man, his game is taking it to a different level. “
Despite Simmons ‘struggles, Rivers made it clear that he is still optimistic about Simmons’ future.
“I’m still very optimistic about Ben,” Rivers said. “But there is work. There is. And Ben will be willing to do it, and that’s the key. Sometimes you have to go through stuff to see it and be honest with it.”
Simmons’ decision to pull out of the Olympics might upset Australian fans, but it will likely appeal to Philadelphia fans who want to see more of the former top pick in the overall standings. The decision would have come as a shock to Australian coach Brian Goorjian, who hoped he would have Simmons’ vast skills at his disposal. However, Team Australia has been “Understanding” of the Simmons decision.
This offseason is critical for Simmons, who desperately needs to advance his attacking game to reach his cap – and to restore his reputation, which has undoubtedly taken a hit this playoff season. Focusing your time on expanding your skills, as opposed to playing ball live, is probably a wise move.