Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons was by no means up for the task in Game 1 of his Eastern Conference semifinal series against Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks.
With center Joel Embiid play through a torn meniscus in his knee, Philadelphia needed Simmons to be even more aggressive on the offensive end of the court.
Instead, the All-Star triple showed one of the worst performances of his career to open up a serious potential that would change the franchise. It was bad. Really, really bad.
Simmons could have put down all seven strike attempts. But that is precisely the problem. He was not aggressive in terms of trying to put the ball in the net. Heck, rookie Tyrese Maxey tried more shots in a pivotal game 1.
Simmons also hit just three of his 10 free throw attempts, continuing the major struggles by the charity. All the while, he turned the ball over five times in a 128-124 loss to Atlanta.
This is just the continuation of what has been a frustrating career for the former No. 1 pick. 1 of talent. A bag was made for Simmons’ inability to improve their shooting range (five career points).
It’s not what a team needs in the modern NBA when it comes to a point forward. And it led Simmons to struggle to become a real star in every definition of the term.
Now, he’s fighting from the free throw line. A career 60% shooter on the strip, Simmons has struggled in 13-of-38 through six playoff games this season. It became so bad that Atlanta intentionally infuriated Simmons that Philadelphia was looking to pull off a frantic comeback Sunday afternoon.
With their Sixers falling 1-0 in this series, it’s time for Simmons to point out the wrong guys and show that he can be a piece of heart in a championship candidate. Here’s why.