Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons has had to deal with a lot the last NBA season. He has opened up more recently about the mental struggles he was having while playing with the Philadelphia 76ers, which in part led to him requesting a trade from the team.
He was ultimately part of the James Harden blockbuster, but he didn’t appear in a game last season. In addition to getting mentally healthy, Simmons was dealing with an ailing back that required surgery as well.
Healthier in every area and ready to get back on the court, Simmons is ready to get back on the court. Whenever he makes his Nets debut it will be the first time that he plays in an NBA game since June 20th, 2021. It was that day on which Simmons went viral for all of the wrong reasons.
Down two points with 3:29 remaining in the game, Simmons had the ball on the elbow being defended by Danilo Gallinari. He spun past Gallinari and got to the rim uncontested other than Trae Young coming over off of his man, Matisse Thybulle.
Instead of going up for the dunk and easy two points, Simmons dropped the ball off to Thybulle, who was fouled by John Collins going up for his attempt at the rim. He missed the first free throw and made the second, but that was the turning point in the game as all the momentum swung to the Hawks.
Philadelphia would lose Game 7 on their homecourt, 103-96. That game effectively ended “The Process” in the City of Brotherly Love as it was the last time Simmons suited up for the franchise.
Recently, Simmons made an appearance on The Old Man & the Three and discussed numerous topics. That play against the Hawks was one thing that was talked about and he opened up about it for the first time.
“In the moment, I just spun, and I’m assuming Trae is going to come over quicker. So I’m thinking he’s going to come full-blown, and I see Matisse (Thybulle) going – You know, Matisse is athletic, can get up. So, I’m thinking okay, quick pass. He’s got to flush it, not knowing how much space there was. It happened so quick that you just make a read.
“And in the playoffs, you need to make the right decisions majority of the time. And for that moment, I mean, bro, it happened, and I was like, ‘Ok. **** now we got to make another play. That’s how I’m thinking. Then I didn’t realize how, you know, everyone was posting, and I’m like, it was that big?”
It was most definitely that big. Young is not renowned for his defense and is far from an intimidating presence around the rim standing 6’1”, especially when going up against Simmons, who stands nearly 7 feet tall.
No one knows what would have happened had Simmons dunked that ball to electrify the crowd, but it was certainly a downer seeing him pass the ball. For everything that he accomplished as a 76er, the lasting image of him is passing that ball to Thybulle in a crucial moment of the game.