The slander of Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons continues to roll on after he played poorly against the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2021 playoffs. Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen, who has been on a media tour lately promoting his memoir and bourbon, talked with GQ about how Simmons “can’t shoot.”
In a rather surprising turn of events, though, Pippen also went off on Sixers head coach Doc Rivers for setting up Simmons to fail.
Scottie Pippen: Doc Rivers made Ben Simmons a failure
Pippen told GQ that Rivers set up Simmons for failure by leaving the All-Star on the court in the fourth quarter. The Bulls icon believes Rivers should have benched Simmons once it became clear the LSU product lost his confidence.
“Y’all know he can’t shoot. Y’all know he don’t look to shoot in the fourth quarter. You know he’s afraid to go to the foul line, he don’t wanna be humiliated, so what are you asking me? I’m not against Ben Simmons. But I think he is who he is,” Pippen said. “I watched a lot of games that Doc shouldn’t have had him in, in the fourth quarter. If I give you a deck of cards and I give you a deuce of heart and a deuce of diamond, and we playing Spades, why you keep grabbing those cards when you know you’re gonna lose in that category? This kid been this way the whole time and Doc brought him in and set him up for failure. He been like this! And you guys know he been like this. And Doc kept putting him in the game, he kept letting that team do fouls on him. Take him out the game! The Lakers did it with Shaq, and he’s bigger and more dominant and probably more fearless than Ben Simmons. Doc made him be a failure.”
The Sixers lost to the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in seven games. While Simmons was a train wreck on the court, we can’t ignore the fact that Rivers has failed to get past the second round of the playoffs since 2012. He has been at the helm of several teams which have blown leads in the postseason, and Pippen believes the former Boston Celtics tactician deserves a lot of the blame for Simmons’ struggles.
Ben Simmons and Doc Rivers are probably the two most hated sports figures in Philadelphia right now
Simmons and Rivers are probably the two most hated sports figures in Philadelphia right now. The former can’t shoot the basketball and has become a liability on offense, and the latter has 29 losses with a chance to clinch a playoff series, the most losses by a head coach in NBA history.
Simmons averaged 9.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 8.6 assists while shooting a woeful 33.3% from the free-throw line against the Hawks. He passed up a dunk attempt in Game 7 and didn’t take a shot in the fourth quarter in Games 4-7. Meanwhile, Rivers made several questionable rotation moves, such as playing his bench too much in critical moments.
After the Sixers lost Game 7 to the Hawks, multiple Philadelphia fans posted videos of them burning their Simmons jerseys. Pippen, a six-time champion with the Bulls, never dealt with that in Chicago, but even he likely knows it may be time for the Sixers to trade Simmons and give the youngster a fresh start elsewhere.
However, finding a trade partner for Simmons may be difficult.
6-foot-11 All-Star has a terrible contract and can’t shoot
Simmons not only can’t shoot the basketball, but he also has a terrible contract. The Australian native has four years and $147 million left on his current deal. That’s certainly a lot of money for a guy who refuses to take jump shots.
Every general manager in the NBA presumably watched Simmons wet the bed against the Hawks. With that said, it’s doubtful any team would part ways with valuable players or draft picks to acquire the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year.
During his end-of-the-season press conference, Rivers said the Sixers have a plan to address Simmons’ shooting woes this offseason. However, we have heard this statement before from ex-coach Brett Brown. Until Simmons takes and makes jumpers during a game, no one can believe a word coming out of Philadelphia.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.