Ben Simmons has come under fire after the Australian was kicked out of Game 4 in Brooklyn NBA Playoff series against Boston, which makes it possible that he won’t play at all this season.
Nets included Simmons in their injury roster for Monday night, as they will try to avoid a Celtics overrun after Sunday’s 109-103 defeat at Barclays Center left them 3-0 in the series.
His constant absences from the pitch in a Nets jersey prompted some commentators to take aim, with former player Reggie Miller claiming the Australian “doesn’t have any competitive fire”.
Simmons was working his way back from a herniated disc in his back and coach Steve Nash said before Game Three on Saturday that the first pick in the 2016 draft had no setbacks after a 3v3 brawl earlier in the day.
But he also cautioned that there was still a lot to consider as they considered bringing Simmons into a game when he hasn’t played since the seventh round of the Eastern District semifinals last year for Philadelphia.
Simmons then requested a deal and declined to play for the 76ers this season, citing mental health concerns. Philadelphia sent him to Brooklyn in February on a final business deal for James Harden, but Simmons began experiencing back pain soon after as he tried to get back into shape.
Former Indiana Pacers star Miller, now a television analyst, has used social media to express his frustration with the 25-year-old’s lack of playing time since moving to Brooklyn.
“Cmon MAN!!! Out of Game 4 when it was rumored that you would debut,” Miller tweeted. “This dude has no competition [fire emoji].
“Although there is little chance of the Nets returning in this series, you still have KD [Kevin Durant] and Keri [Irving]All you need is to win one game and take it from there. #get up.”
Respected ESPN presenter Stephen Smith too Join the heapsaying it was “one of the most pathetic situations” he had ever seen.
“He won’t go to war, he won’t go to the octagon [MMA]”He doesn’t go to the boxing ring,” he said. “It’s pulling teeth to get this guy to play basketball.”
Without Simmons, the Nets are seeking to make NBA history as the first team to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series.
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