Ben Simmons’ return not his decision

Ben Simmons’ return not his decision

Ben Simmons’ time with the Philadelphia 76ers seemed to be over following the team’s playoff exit last year at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks. The first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft was heavily criticized by his head coach and the media for his performance against the Hawks and the star did not take it too well.

Despite demanding to be traded and then returning to the team prior to the start of the season, Simmons has yet to feature for the 76ers this season after telling the club that he wasn’t mentally ready to play up to his expectations and needed some time to step away.

“I have no idea, honestly,” said 76ers’ head coach Doc Rivers when asked what it would take for Simmons to return to action, via

“I stay out of it. I really do. My job is to coach the guys that are here and then believe that the guys who are on the team will play someday. That’s all I have to be as a coach. I don’t get caught up in all of the stuff – the clutter, I guess we can say it is. I try to stay out of that as much as I can. I do talk to Rich (Paul) quite a bit, but it’s more on a personal level.”

However, Simmons’ opportunity to return to Philadelphia and play an important role again for the 76ers may not be his decision to make according to Rivers.

“I don’t think so,” Rivers said when asked if Simmons’ return is ultimately his decision or not. “I think it’s going to be a team decision, but again, I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.” 

Simmons has spent his entire NBA career in Philadelphia, but has yet to prove he can get the job done on the court when it really matters the most – in the playoffs. Since drafting Simmons in 2016, Philadelphia has made the postseason in four consecutive seasons but have never made it past the second round. Expectations were particularly high during the postseason last year as the 76ers finished the regular season atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Despite his playoff woes though, Simmons has shown he can be an elite player when required during the regular season. He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year during the 2017-18 season and has been named to the All-Star team for the last three consecutive seasons. He has also been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in back-to-back years after leading the entire league in steals in 2020.

It remains to be seen what the future holds for the 25-year-old who clearly doesn’t want to be a part of the 76ers’ organization. The team has been trying hard to complete a trade for the point guard, but have yet to reach a deal that would satisfy all parties. Until Simmons returns to action or is dealt away, teammates and coaches will be constantly be asked about the star’s status.

The 76ers will be in action next on Wednesday evening, when they host the Chicago Bulls at Wells Fargo Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.