It’s officially official. Ben Simmons will not make his Brooklyn Nets debut Game 4 Monday night against the Boston Celtics.
Down 3-0 in the series, it was reported that Simmons would likely play Game 4. He has not suited up in a game with Brooklyn since being acquired in a blockbuster trade from the Philadelphia 76ers back on February 10. Simmons continues to deal with a back injury that also forced him to sit out in Philadelphia prior to the aforementioned trade.
With his Nets facing elimination against a vastly superior Celtics squad, Simmons now finds himself on the receiving end of some major criticism from the media world. That includes enigmatic ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith, who sounded off on Simmons during the station’s NBA Playoff coverage on Sunday.
“I feel bad for anybody who was his teammate. He quit on LSU, he quit on the Philadelphia 76ers and now, he ain’t showing up for the Brooklyn Nets.”Stephen A. Smith on Ben Simmons
Smith was not alone in laying into Mr. Simmons. Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller joined in, too.
Does Ben Simmons deserve this criticism?
Honestly, yes. Sure we have no idea what the real extent of his back injury is. Without knowing those details, one might think that laying into Simmons doesn’t make sense. For them, it’s an example of today’s hot-take media world.
Then again, we’re talking about a guy who sat out the entire season in Philadelphia after requesting a trade last summer. Simmons’ trade request came after he put up a disastrous performance for the 76ers in the NBA Playoffs last year.
- Ben Simmons stats (2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals): 9.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 8.6 apg, 48% shooting, 33% free throw
It’s one thing for Smith to blast Simmons. He’s known for his hot takes. It’s a completely different thing for a former player and all-time great like Reggie Miller to do the same.
As for Simmons and his future in Brooklyn, we have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen this summer. The Nets have embarrassed themselves through the first three games of their series against the Celtics. Kevin Durant is coming off the worst two-game span of his career. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving has also struggled and could opt out of his contract to become a free agent this summer.
Barring a dramatic and historic comeback against Boston, the Nets are going to be in store for big time changes during the summer. Could that include Ben Simmons being traded for the second time in less than a half of calendar year?