Ben Simmons didn’t play for the Nets in Philadelphia, as he said he hoped to do. He didn’t play a few days later, as was reportedly targeted. And he’s not playing in Nets-Celtics Game 4 tonight, as he reportedly planned to do.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
When I checked it out and talked to people involved, they were exasperated.
They were just like, “He woke up, and his back hurt, and he wasn’t able to play.” And there wasn’t much more to say.
It’s tough to tell where the line falls between people being exasperated with Simmons’ health issues and being exasperated with Simmons himself.
Even if Windhorst’s sources are merely exasperated with Simmons’ back hurting – not Simmons himself – it’s fair to question whether these back problems are related to Simmons choosing to sit out all year. It also stands to reason exasperation with Simmons’ situation could spiral into exasperation with Simmons. Exasperated people tend to get worked up.
The Nets welcomed Simmons with an inspiring show of solidarity. But he has not reciprocated by producing on the court. Wherever you place blame, Simmons’ absence is another issue for a team still trying to find itself.