Report: Nets teammates saw Ben Simmons as not pushing himself to play in playoffs
Nets players welcomed Ben Simmons with an inspiring show of solidarity.
But when Brooklyn completed its historically disappointing season yesterday, getting swept by the Celtics, Simmons wasn’t there.
Simmons initially indicated he planned to make his season debut in Game 4. But, citing back pain and mental-health issues, he didn’t play. He didn’t even sit on the bench, in a showy outfit or otherwise, as he had earlier in the series. His absence was supposedly due to back pain.
Nearly every player is battling some health issue this time of year. Each player wants his teammates to do their part toward the shared goal of winning. Not being in Simmons’ mind and body, it’s impossible to know exactly how he’s feeling. Maybe he pushed himself as hard as he reasonably could. Maybe he didn’t.
But it’s notable his teammates, fairly or not, are already not giving him full benefit of the doubt.
Some 76ers reached that point in last year’s playoffs. Impatience for Simmons increased as he sat out while trying to force a trade from Philadelphia. The discord probably exacerbated his mental-health issues.
The cycle is difficult to escape.
Now the Nets enter the offseason on this sour note – not only Simmons facing physiological issues, but people within the organization questioning his commitment.