Ben Simmons is once again under the scrutiny of the basketball world. This time, it’s sports analyst Stephen A. Smith who has taken Simmons to task for what he sees as missed opportunities and underperformance.
Simmons’ tumultuous journey in the 2021-22 season saw him miss the entire campaign due to a trade request that eventually landed him with the Nets. However, despite the change in scenery, Simmons did not make a single appearance for Brooklyn during that season.
In the subsequent 2022-23 season, Simmons made a limited return to the court, appearing in just 42 games. His performance was far from his usual standards, with career-low averages of 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists in 26.3 minutes per game.
Recently, the 27-year-old guard broke his silence with a rare interview, where he expressed his readiness to dominate in the NBA once again. However, Stephen A. Smith did not mince words when addressing Simmons’ comments.
On ESPN’s First Take, Smith unleashed a passionate rant, highlighting the stark contrast between Simmons’ talent and his recent on-court struggles. Smith expressed frustration at Simmons’ failure to live up to his potential and questioned the trustworthiness of a player who hasn’t delivered on his promise.
“We know this much about Ben Simmons as well,” Smith said, via ClutchPoints. “The brother don’t miss the checks. The checks keep coming in, no matter what. No matter what’s going on mentally, physically, emotionally, the brother shows up to the bank to get his money. So at some point in time, he’s gotta earn it.
“I know he’s been through a lot, and I understand that. But considering how great of a talent he was and meeting him face to face last season and him saying he’s ready to go and then you wet the bed the way you did last season? I’m sick of it.
“This is a great talent that is putting his talent to waste and nobody in their right mind would trust him, the only reason he’s still in the NBA, literally, is because he got a guaranteed contract because he hasn’t done a damn thing to earn it.
“Ain’t nobody asking you to go on the front lines in Ukraine against Russia, it’s about playing basketball! … Show the hell up! … Earn your money!”