‘Concerning’ issue plauging Aussie star
AUSSIE NBA star Ben Simmons has long been targeted over his failure to shoot, even when his coach explicitly asks for it but a new issue appears to be emerging, if fans are to be believed.
As Simmons' Philadelphia 76ers ended a two-game slide with a 117-106 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at home, which takes their season record at home to 19-2, and takes the side to 26-16 for the year.
But Philly sports fans are some of the most passionate and demanding in the US and despite Simmons' 20 point, six rebound and 11 assist game, they want more out of the 23-year-old.
Watch the 2019/20 NBA Season with ESPN on KAYO. Up to up to 7 LIVE games every week! New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
What's more incredible, Simmons also played his 200th career game, becoming just the third player in NBA history alongside Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson to post 3000 points, 1500 rebounds and 1500 assists.
Tonight marked @sixers @BenSimmons25 200th career game.— Sixers Stats (@SixersStats) January 16, 2020
Simmons, Oscar Robertson and @MagicJohnson are the only three players in @NBAHistory to post 3,000 pts/1,500 rebs/1,500 assists within their first 200 career contests.
But despite passing 20 points for the second consecutive game - something he'd only done one other time in 2019/20 - Simmons has been clipped over his disappearance with the game on the line.
Fans have long been calling for Simmons to take the game by the scruff of the neck when they need to but for the second straight game, the Aussie has been unable to deliver.
Earlier in the week in the 101-95 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Simmons had 20 points, nine rebounds and three assists in a monster first half, but finished the game with 24-14-3 overall as he largely went missing as an offensive weapon after the half-time break.
Against the Nets, he went better than Tuesday's (AEST) performance but still only managed five points, four rebounds and eight assists after half-time.
In the fourth quarter, he had no points, with the three rebounds and five assists as he switched to orchestrating the offence, assisting in both Furkan Korkmaz key three-pointers which gave the 76ers the lead early in the fourth quarter for the first time since late in the first.
Korkmaz heaped praise on Simmons post match.
"Especially when you run the play with the Ben, that creates a lot of confusion for defence, they don't know how to guard," the Turkish star said.
"On that play, it's all about the Ben you know because he takes all the responsibility on the play and then he just creates it for me. At the end of the day you make the shot you look good, when you miss, you look bad. When you play with the Ben, the game is more easier for you."
But it didn't stop unsatisfied fans from sticking the boot in.
Even I have to admit, Ben Simmons continuously disappearing in the 4th quarter of close games is concerning. He was so dominant early, so weird.— Andrew Porter (@And_Porter) January 16, 2020
For the third game in a row, Ben Simmons had zero points in the 4th quarter #Sixers— Dave Uram (@MrUram) January 16, 2020
There's not much in the world more frustrating than watching Ben Simmons play basketball— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) January 16, 2020
Others came to Simmons' defence however.
The anti-Ben Simmons agenda by some is strange. I won’t name names, but Simmons has been great in the 4th quarter without needing to score.— Dennis Chambers (@DennisChambers_) January 16, 2020
If you can’t see that, you’re covering the wrong sport.
ESPN commentator Dave Pasch was in the latter category.
"There's not many guys that can impact a game without even taking a shot like Ben Simmons has here in the fourth quarter," he said.
The same old issue of failing to shoot reared its head again as well with the Nets defenders giving Simmons plenty of room.
It's not an uncommon sight in 76ers games but after only utilising it to make two three-pointers this season - and not even attempting another since coach Brett Brown said he wanted one shot from beyond the arc per game.
The lack of a jump shot has led to frustration with even superstar teammate Joel Embiid taking a swipe at Simmons, while six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen declared "This is a grown man shot, this is a mature shot and he's not ready".
Nets are defending Simmons with either center and playing 15 feet off him and it is working. Simmons tried to run a DHO with Korkmaz like he used to with Redick and Korkmaz badly missed a jumper.— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) January 16, 2020
After an opening shift in which Simmons (12 points) was too fast for Wilson Chandler/TaureanPrince and too big for everyone else, the Nets have put Jarrett Allen on him. This is the kind of matchup where it would be helpful if Allen felt compelled to guard him beyond 15 feet— David Murphy (@ByDavidMurphy) January 16, 2020
DeAndre Jordan now on Simmons, playing even further off— David Murphy (@ByDavidMurphy) January 16, 2020
Tonight is the 19th game since Brett Brown said he wants Ben Simmons to shoot at least one 3-pointer a game.— Max Lederman (@Max_Lederman) January 16, 2020
He has taken exactly ZERO over that span
Fans are urging Ben Simmons to shoot the ball, and he won't #Sixers— Dave Uram (@MrUram) January 16, 2020
But while Simmons continues to dazzle in the paint with his silky skills, the internet can't ever forgive a horror blunder.
And in his 200th game, a game that appeared to have everything else, a third-quarter missed dunk was just what social media wanted.