Brooklyn Nets point-forward Ben Simmons was benched late during their loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night, as Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn has taken the tough love tract on coaching the enigmatic star.
When asked about the benching, Simmons took a familiar route in placing the team before himself. However, the fifth-year pro did have an interesting caveat.
“I really had no message from him,” Simmons tells reporters (h/t the New York Post’s Brian Lewis). “I think it’s more just [whatever the] team needs.”
“When we’re winning, I have no problem with it; if we’re losing then I got an issue.”
On the surface, those are strong words from a player averaging career-lows in points per game (7.6), rebounds per game (6.7), assists per game (6.4) and minutes per game (27.5) this season. Simmons has been a shell of his All-Star self, still playing at a high level as an on-ball defender and facilitator, but far less aggressive as a scorer than in past seasons.
This has been touched on regularly.
It was the topic du jour again on Wednesday night, as Vaughn tells reporters that “if you’re thinking about being aggressive, you will be aggressive. If you think about being a good teammate, you’ll be a good teammate. If you think about competing and playing hard, you do those things. You become what you think about” (h/t the New York Post’s Brian Lewis).
Reading in between the lines, it’s likely his lack of an aggressive mentality that has earned him being benched multiple times late in games.
The former Sixers star has been under heavy fire for two-plus seasons now but fans, his peers, coaches and analysts all want to know: who is Ben Simmons?