Even after shutting down Trae Young and reminding the league that he deserves to win Defensive Player of the Year, Sixers star Ben Simmons can't stop catching strays.
A meme went viral in NBA Twitter circles this week in which Simmons and Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, both notorious for free throw struggles, were put in a do-or-die situation:
Never a great sign when your second-best player is regularly trolled for lacking a crucial skill!
Alas, it is what it is. The internet always laughs.
But apparently Damian Lillard also laughs.
The Blazers star, who tried valiantly to keep Portland in the playoffs in the first round, decided to drop the meme into his Instagram Stories on Tuesday and get a good chuckle off about the joke:
Is it a big deal that Lillard decided to laugh at two fellow All-Stars? Nah, not really. It's sort of interesting that he went to the lengths of putting it on his story, because it means he wanted everyone to see his thoughts on the subject. He could've decided to simply like the post and kept scrolling. That part is maybe interesting.
But Lillard... isn't exactly wrong to laugh at these two. He's a megastar who has perfected the art of shooting, the core skill at the heart of basketball, so when you see two guys with "star" status who can't shoot? Yeah, it's probably pretty funny.
Simmons is historically a very shaky free throw shooter, but his woes have become increasingly awful this postseason. Through seven games in the playoffs Simmons is 13 of 40 from the line, good for an abysmal 32.5%. Two consecutive teams have decided to roll out the Hack-A-Ben strategy of intentionally fouling Simmons and daring him to make a free throw. It's tough!
Now, some will point to a couple things against Lillard getting his jokes off:
1. Lillard isn't in the playoffs anymore and both Simmons and Antetokounmpo still are, so maybe he should quiet down
2. Simmons and Antetokounmpo contribute a ton on the defensive end, where Lillard is a bit of a minus player
But in the end, it's just a joke - albeit with some truth to it. If the Sixers want to be able to routinely finish off opponents in crunch time, Simmons needs to be much better from the line.