12:44 PM ET
Philadelphia 76er star Ben Simmons said Friday that the team did not work well enough last season to bring the team to court, which played an important role in the disappointing 2019-20 season.
One hundred percent, Simmons said in answer to a question whether former Sixer Josh Richardson’s comments about the team’s general irresponsibility at the end of last season were correct. We didn’t know when we’d get the bucket, who’d buy it from us. Therefore, knowing what we should be at all times, people are responsible for certain things, no matter how small, they all play a role.
He was certainly right. We couldn’t get in that bubble and win. I think our way of thinking has gone crazy, and responsibility is a big part of winning. So I guess he was definitely right.
In August, Richardson criticized former coach Brett Brown for not being able to stop the players from taking responsibility. Brown was released in August.
He’s a good guy, Richardson said at the time. He’s a good man. He means well. I just think he should have more responsibility in the future.
I don’t think there was much responsibility this season and I think that was part of our problem.
Simmons also seems to have blamed Brown in part, saying he saw a change with the arrival of the new coach of Doc Rivers in the off-season.
With the inclusion of Doc and all these boys and Doc’s team, with all these coaches around, maturity with the team has certainly grown, Simmons said. And I think it was great to see guys who are responsible for certain things and come here with a different way of thinking and veterans like Dwight [Howard], Danny Green, who really set the bar higher. So you know what to expect.
The 2019-20 season was a non-stop roller coaster ride for six people. The team suffered a number of injuries that meant they didn’t have a full team for most of the season, including back and knee injuries at Simmons. Al Horford also underwent an embarrassing attack in full colour alongside Joel Ambiad, which led to another series of problems and ultimately Horford’s withdrawal from the starting line for the first long period of his career.
These chemical problems have been obvious throughout the season, and Simmons said that Philadelphia – without even thinking of injuries – wasn’t going to be good enough to blow the expected bell.
You can’t put yourself in a situation like this bell… if you’re not ready and you don’t have the chemistry and the responsibility and Doc and I talked about it, Simmons said. It can be said that the teams that did well in the bubble were closely connected and held responsible for certain things, and we can see that. You can see it now with the Clippers, when it comes down to it. It’s the same for us. The boys haven’t been brought to justice, including me. So you can really see it. The team that did well was the Lakers. The Heat played well, they’re a tight band. The Celts played well and it showed in the bubble.
Last season, the former Team Rivers – Clippers was probably the only team where internal chemistry was more discussed than in the Sixers. The last volley on this front came earlier this week when Paul George appeared on the All the Smoke podcast, criticizing the way the Rivers had used it last season.
Mr Simmons said he understood from his conversations with Mr Rivers that it was up to the players to take responsibility for each other.
Simmons said it was the only thing that could happen to the players and coaches and that it was up to the players to hold them accountable. And if they don’t listen and do certain things, they won’t win. But I think it’s a great opportunity for us young people to have someone like Doc, so we have to do it.
Simmons, whose season ended with a knee injury in a bubble, said he was 100% healthy and trained fully and without limitations at the base of the team. He also said that he plans to participate in the Australian Olympics next summer because he believes that he is healthy and able to do so.