In his first season with the Brooklyn Nets, Ben Simmons didn’t have the same numbers with them as he did with the Philadelphia 76ers, averaging 7.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.5 steals and .6 block Among those who aren’t impressed is former NBA player-turned-analyst Jalen Rose.
During the Jan. 20 episode of NBA Countdown, Rose expressed his disappointment with Simmons’ performance by saying that the former sixer is stealing from the nets this season.
“Ben Simmons actually steals money, ski masks and gloves,” Rose said jokingly. “He has 119 fouls (and) 113 baskets this year. Only two of them out of color. He shoots 43 percent from the free throw line. That’s a guy they traded for James Harden.”
Rose later pointed out Simmons’ game could pose problems for the Nets with Kevin Durant out with an MCL injury.
“If you can’t get Ben Simmons to play at the All-Star level, the Nets can’t swim without KD,” Rose said. “Just because you’re without your best player doesn’t mean you’re winless. I am very disturbed by what I see. They will be so low in the standings that they may bounce back in the first lap.
Simmons is in the third year of a five-year, $177 million contract he signed with the Sixers in 2019.
After the Sixers traded Simmons to the Nets, among others, Simmons explored why he no longer wanted to play for the team that drafted him.
“It wasn’t about the fans or coaches or comments from anyone,” Simmons said. “It was just a personal thing for me that was earlier than this series or even this season that I was dealing with. This organization knew that. It was something I continue to grapple with.”
Simmons emphasized that many factors went into his desire to leave the Sixers and that he ended up not feeling like himself.
“It was just stacked. A lot of things that over the years have made me just know that I’m not myself and I needed to get back to that place where I’m myself and happy as a person and concerned about my well-being take care That was the most important thing for me. It wasn’t about the basketball or the money or anything like that. I want to be who I am and play basketball at that level again and be myself.”
In an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Nick Friedell, Simmons opened up about his relationship with Joel Embiid, or lack of a relationship with his former teammate.
“I’m not talking to Jo. We never really spoke to each other,” Simmons said. “I don’t think there was really a relationship. How about a friendship? You can try so hard to be close to someone, to be their friend, whatever it is, but everyone is different so it’s never personal to me.”
Simmons later clarified that there are no hard feelings between him and Embiid.
“I have no anger or hatred towards him. He is who he is and I am who I am. And we have our private lives. And work is basketball, so my goal right now is to win, and I have to win with Jo. He’s a great player, we just couldn’t do it.”