In his first season with the Brooklyn Nets, Ben Simmons has not been putting up the same numbers with them as he once did with the Philadelphia 76ers, averaging 7.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.6 blocks. Among those who are not impressed is former NBA player-turned-analyst Jalen Rose.
During the January 20 episode of NBA Countdown, Rose expressed his disappointment in Simmons’ performance by saying that the former Sixer is stealing from the Nets this season.
“Ben Simmons is stealing money, ski mask and gloves, as a matter of fact,” Rose said jokingly. “He has 119 fouls (and) 113 baskets this year. Only two of them outside of the paint. He’s shooting 43 percent from the free-throw line. That’s a guy they traded for James Harden.”
Rose later pointed out that Simmons’ play could be trouble for the Nets with Kevin Durant out with an MCL injury.
“If you can’t get Ben Simmons to play at an all-star level, the Nets can’t float without KD,” Rose said. “Just because you’re without your best player, that don’t mean go winless. I’m very disturbed by what I see. They’re going to be so low in the standings it’ll put them in a position to get bounced again in the first round.
Simmons is in the third year of a five-year, $177 million contract he signed with the Sixers in 2019.
Simmons’ Thoughts on Sixers’ Exit
After the Sixers traded Simmons, among others, to the Nets, Simmons delved into why he no longer wanted to play for the team that drafted him.
“It wasn’t about the fans or coaches or comments made by anybody,” Simmons said. “It was just a personal thing for me that was earlier than that series or even that season that I was dealing with. That organization knew that. It was something that I continue to deal with.”
Simmons stressed that many factors went into his desire to leave the Sixers, and that by the end, he didn’t feel like he was himself anymore.
“It was just piled up. A bunch of things that have gone over the years to where I just knew I wasn’t myself, and I needed to get back into that place of being myself and being happy as a person and taking care of my wellbeing. That was the major thing for me. It wasn’t about the basketball, the money, anything like that. I want to be who I am and get back to playing basketball at that level and be myself.”
Simmons’ Relationship With Joel Embiid
In an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Nick Friedell, Simmons opened up about his relationship with Joel Embiid, or the lack of relationship he had with his former teammate.
“I don’t talk to Jo. We never really spoke,” Simmons said. “I don’t think there was really a relationship there. Like in terms of a friendship? You can try as hard as you want to try to be close to somebody, be their friend, whatever it is, but everyone is different as people, so for me, it’s never personal.”
Simmons later clarified that there are no hard feelings between him and Embiid.
“I don’t have any anger or hate towards him. He is who he is, and I am who I am. And we’ve got our personal lives. And work is basketball, so in that moment, my goal is to win, and I got to win with Jo. He’s a great player, we just didn’t get it done.”