Sixers Veteran Rips Ben Simmons: ‘I Mean, I Wasn’t Gonna Say It’

Sixers veteran rips Ben Simmons

Getty Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets passes past James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

One year on, the Philadelphia 76ers unquestionably won the Ben Simmons-James Harden swap. From the moment that swap went down, the Nets and Sixers have seemed to head on opposite trajectories.

The Nets are now without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, both having been traded this season. Ben Simmons looks like a shell of himself. Long gone are Brooklyn’s dreams of bringing home a Finals win; instead, the team will look to ride its stable of wings as far as they’ll take the team.

And recently, Sixers shooter Georges Niang went on 97.5 The Fanatic to share his thoughts on the Sixers’ Ben Simmons saga. Taking fans behind the scenes for the first time, Niang confirmed what many believed about how Sixers players felt about Simmons’ holdout.

“Ben Simmons kind of handicapped us at the beginning of last year,” Niang explained. “I mean, I wasn’t gonna say it, but now, you know what I mean?”

Niang went on to describe how the Sixers had to find creative ways to replace what Simmons brings to the table, omitting one key trait.

“When you’re building rosters, talking from a general manager standpoint – I don’t know how much [Simmons] makes, but it’s a max contract. So you immediately take that off the books, ‘I’m not playing,’ you have to figure it out where other role players have to step up and replace, you know, the passing, dribbling, rebounding, defense –,” Niang concluded.

Sixers Have Done Well Without Simmons

While the Nets are working to salvage the rest of the season, the same cannot be said of the Sixers. After entering the All-Star Break just one of five teams with 38 wins and sitting third in the East, the Sixers are cruising.

And Philadelphia also showed out in its first game following the All-Star Break. After falling behind by 17 to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Sixers clawed their way back into the game.

Given Embiid’s lackluster play offensively, the gritty win was precisely the type of performance the Sixers needed to show to boost hopes of a deep playoff run. It forced guys like James Harden and Tobias Harris to step up down the stretch.

After the game, Embiid explained how he stepped up his defense with the ball not falling like he’s used to, invoking a Celtics legend to describe his 19 rebound, six block performance.

“Defensively, I thought I had to be Bill Russell tonight to be able to kind of balance it out,” Embiid said, per Rich Hofmann of The Athletic.

Embiid Provides Crucial Injury Update

After the win, Embiid also provided reporters with a crucial injury update.

“I feel pretty good,” Embiid told reporters, per Ky Carlin of SixersWire. “Like I said before the break, whatever it is, it’s all about rest, and there’s a reason why I wasn’t part of Saturday (All-Star practice) because I wanted to make sure that I could get more rest and with this, it’s all about trying to get as much rest as possible.”

The Sixers are in the midst of arguably the most important stretch of the season. According to Tankathon, the Sixers have the toughest remaining schedule, including multiple games left against the Celtics and Bucks.

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