Ben Simmons talks with head coach Brett Brown (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons talks with head coach Brett Brown (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

‘Absolutely brutal’: Simmons cops it

ARON Baynes and the Phoenix Suns didn't just end the 76ers' undefeated start to the season, they also took the shine off a summer of positivity for Ben Simmons.

After an off-season spent predominantly in the gym and a starring role in Philly's opener against Boston, Simmons has been steady, if not spectacular, during his team's bright start.

But it didn't take long for the American media to produce a knife or two after he managed just six points in the 76ers' 114-109 defeat in Arizona on Tuesday.

The Athletic's Jackson Frank described Simmons' night as "absolutely brutal".

"He rarely applied pressure at the rim, looked tentative as a dribble-drive creator, lacked finishing touch and couldn't contain Devin Booker when it mattered late," Frank wrote.

"The ball was largely taken out of his hands in the half court, and while he set a number of good screens to spark open looks, six points on 2-of-8 shooting won't cut it. A weird and disappointing game for the third-year guard."

"Here's the thing - all the summer mixtapes on Instagram, all the pre-season claims about dedication to your craft, all the stories about grinding in the gym, none of it means absolutely anything if it doesn't amount to changes to your in-game habits," wrote Philly Voice's Kyle Neubeck.

"His interest in the three-point line is still zero, his attempts at jumpers are almost exclusively of the ugly, fading away from 12 feet variety, and through six games he is getting to the free-throw line less than last season."

The shot chart backs it up.

Unfortunately it was Baynes who hurt Simmons most.

With star big man Joel Embiid serving the second game of a two-match suspension for fighting Karl Anthony-Towns, the Suns were free to send the mammoth Aussie to his compatriot and it worked.

"Baynes is good, man," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "I wished maybe we got more going a little bit with Ben in early offence when Aron was on him, but half court, I don't know."

"Offensively, I think our back-court struggled," Brown added.

At shootaround on Wednesday, Simmons promised his team would bounce back.

"It's nearly impossible to go 82-0, but it's a good wake-up for us," he said. "I think having Jo back, we can get back into a rhythm, get back into a flow."

News Corp Australia


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