We’ve heard little from Ben Simmons during his transition to the Brooklyn Nets, and with all the personal issues he’s alluded to in that process, nor should we have. The 26 year old defensive star had a lot on his plate off the hardwood and needed some time to figure it out.
However, respecting someone’s privacy is not exactly the public’s strong suit. With Simmons taking a step back, the more tenacious media outlets began cooking up their own narratives to fill the void. It’s unfortunate, but frankly the world we live in.
Yesterday morning though, we finally got to hear from Simmons himself, speaking with old teammate J.J. Redick on The Old Man and the Three podcast. Simmons and Redick covered a myriad of topics, but their discussion on what led to Simmons leaving the Philadelphia 76ers and fit in Brooklyn stood out among the rest.
Although Simmons made it clear that his mental health issues dated back well before his last time on the floor in that playoff series vs the Atlanta Hawks, Redick and Simmons started their talk there.
“It got to a point where after that series I’m getting—it’s like from the people that you’re supposed to have that support from or that comfort from, and I wasn’t getting that either,” said Simmons. “So it was a lot, it was a toll on me. And then mentally I just, it killed me.”
“I was like, *expletive*. No energy for anything, like I was in a dark place,” he added. “The first thing for me was really identifying like I gotta get right and it’s not a physical thing, it’s mentally.”
The Aussie star went on to say that he’s “in a great place now” amidst his recollection, but did reiterate that his final days in Philadelphia were indeed quite dark.
“Everyone has their own battles,” said Simmons. “I think that was tough for me knowing I didn’t really have that support either from teammates or whatever it was.”
Redick then chimed and insisted that they “call it as it is.” While Simmons did not mention Doc Rivers or Joel Embiid himself, Redick brought them up and said that they “essentially threw [Simmons] under the bus after Game 7,” to which Simmons nodded and agreed.
For those who do not remember, Rivers said that he did not know when asked whether or not a team could win a championship with Simmons as its point guard. Although his comments were less upfront, Embiid also placed some guilt on Simmons during his postgame presser soon after.
How much exactly this all factored into Ben10’s departure from Philly remains to be seen. We’ll wait for him to speak on that if he ever wants to. But from this, we know that it played a part.
But surely for the better, that’s all in the past now. Simmons is a Brooklyn Net and seems to feel good about that. The three-time All-Star already noted how much better he feels mentally and also referenced how ideal the basketball situation is for him in Brooklyn as well.
“I’m excited to play with Kev, Ky, Joe Harris, all those guys,” said Simmons. “We just have an unbelievable team,” said Simmons.
“[Brooklyn] right now is just a great fit for what I do and what I bring to the game. I feel like it’s Philly on steroids,” he said in reference to an aforementioned Sixers team that won 16 straight contests to end its season.
With all those aforementioned offensive talents around him, most would agree with Simmons. Only 27 days stand between us and Brooklyn’s season opener. It sounds like Simmons is eager to get there, as is everyone from Brooklyn all the way back to Jersey.