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Ben Simmons looks set to skip the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games in a huge blow for the Boomers.
According to ESPN, Australia could be forced to to compete without their star man, with Simmons reportedly keen on staying in the United States to "work on skill development" following his poor form during the NBA playoffs.
Ben Simmons is doubtful to play for Australia in Tokyo Olympics, sources said. Will spend offseason working on skill development. Aussies scheduled to begin training this week in L.A.
- Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 21, 2021
Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers were sent crashing out of the Eastern Conference semi-finals after losing to Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks.
The Australian point guard was a shell of his former self, scoring just 5 points in Game 7 and registering the worst free thrown percentage in NBA postseason history - just 34.2% across the series.
In the wake of the damning defeat, some Sixers fans have even called for the team to trade him.
Now the man himself is in major doubt for the Olympic Games in Tokyo later this month with reports suggesting he wants to utilise the NBA offseason to get his confidence back.
The thing is: Ben Simmons is the most talented male Australian basketball player ever. Whatever your thoughts on his Boomers antics, the senior core that's been so devoted to the program deserved one campaign with him. It's just a shame they won't ever get that.
- Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) June 21, 2021
Oh now all of a sudden Benamin Simmons is working on his basketball skills. 5 years after he came into #NBA. I think this is total BS! He needs to get outta here. Traded. Gone. He can't stay with #Sixers. https://t.co/zZFclQDEYx
- Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) June 21, 2021
"Ben Simmons is doubtful to play for Australia in Tokyo Olympics, sources said," ESPN's Brian Windhorst tweeted.
"Will spend offseason working on skill development. Aussies scheduled to begin training this week in L.A."
Speaking after Philly's loss to the Hawks, Simmons was well aware that he hadn't been performing for his team and perhaps gave an initial indication of what his offseason plans were.
"I ain't shoot well from the line this series," he told ESPN.
"Offensively, I wasn't there. I didn't do enough for my teammates. There's a lot of things that I need to work on.
"The first thing I'm going to do is clear my mind and get my mental right. You got to be mentally tough. You can't take games for granted. Especially in the playoffs. Every game matters. Every possession matters."
If 'clear his head' and 'get mentally right' means missing the Olympics, then that doesn't bode well for the Boomers and the Aussie fans.
One person who didn't show much sympathy for Simmons was Stephen A. Smith.
The ESPN talking head went to to town on the former No.1 overall pick, questioning his work ethic both on and off the court and labelling him "lazy".
"I think you put Ben Simmons in the gym. I'm gonna put this out here: I think it's an issue of work ethic. I really, really do," Stephen A. said.
"I'm not calling him lazy, I'm not trying to cast any aspersions on his character. He's a good kid, he cares, and he goes out there and I think that he's an elite player.
"But in the off-season, you can't tell me he's working on his jump shot. There's no way. When you won't even attempt them when you're playing for this team, you're clearly not working on it enough."
Featured Image Credit: Basketball Australia
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