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Ben Simmons has found himself squarely in the firing line once again following the Philadelphia 76ers' exit from the NBA playoffs.
This time, it's ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith who has joined in with teeing off on the Aussie, claiming he has received exclusive text messages from an insider which dishes the dirt on Simmons.
Stephen A, a bloke who has never been one to bite his tongue, has well and truly unloaded on Simmons by revealing that the soon-to-be 25-year-old is "constantly babied" by those in his circle.
"I just received a text from someone very, very close to the situation in Philadelphia about Ben Simmons," he said during a recent episode of First Take
"This is a quote, it's not me, it's them. Quote: 'He doesn't work, he doesn't listen, and everyone around him is family, and he's constantly babied'. That's the word out on Ben Simmons."
Some fans hilariously replied on social media saying that it was, in fact, Sixers main man Joel Embiid dropping Stephen A. a text message.
Stephen A's co-host Max Kellerman then chimed in, suggesting he knew exactly where Simmons should be shipped off to.
"It needs to come from a veteran player that kind of mentorship, someone like LeBron James could do it," Kellerman said.
"It needs to come from someone with real gravitas who has a came similar to his who could take him under his wing."
Simmons' poor form throughout the Eastern Conference semi-final defeat to the Atlanta Hawks, which saw him register the worst free thrown percentage in NBA postseason history (just 34.2%), has seen him cop plenty of criticism from fans and experts alike.
His unwillingness (or perhaps inability) to shoot against the Hawks was clear for all to see and now some Sixers fans are demanding he be traded.
Even Philly head coach Doc Rivers, a man who has previously raved about Simmons' ability, was unsure of what to do with the former No.1 overall pick.
"I'm very bullish on Ben still," Rivers said.
Doc Rivers answers a question whether Ben Simmons can be the point guard of a championship team pic.twitter.com/8xL35u98RC- Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) June 21, 2021
"But there's work. There is. And Ben will be willing to do it, and that's the key. Sometimes you have to go through stuff to see it, and to be honest with it.
"I think some of the stuff is obvious. We're not hiding that Ben has to become a better free-throw shooter, and a more confident free-throw shooter.
"If that happens, I really believe a lot of the other parts of his game will follow. I said that before the season started. The first thing I said was, 'We got to get him to the line 10 times a night.' So, we've got to put in work so he can get there. But if we can get him there, man, his game goes to a different level."
Judging by that response, it appears the 76ers are adamant on keeping the three-time All-Star.
Simmons himself acknowledges that there's work to be done to get his confidence back, so much so that he's willing to skip the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games to "work on skill development".
That in itself is a huge blow for the Aussie Boomers, but if the Sixers can get somehow help Big Ben re-find his form of old then it only bodes well for the team's future.
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