It's been over a year since Ben Simmons' infamous collapse against the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2021 Eastern Conference playoffs. The Australian point guard couldn't make the difference for his squad, missing a big opportunity to beat the surprising Trae Young-led Hawks that went on to play in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Simmons earned a lot of criticism thanks to that play, and after one year, everybody wanted to know what happened during that time. The worst play of that series came in Game 7, when he got the ball with a lot of space to make a layup or dunk the ball and decided to pass it up, missing an easy chance to score.
Ever since that moment, Simmons was blamed for the Sixers' defeat, and many think that was the trigger for him to leave the organization. He was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in March, ending a tumultuous stint with the Sixers.
Ben Simmons Explains Why He Passed A Wide Open Layup Against Hawks In 2021 NBA Playoffs
It's been a while since that moment, but people haven't stopped talking about that play, and when Simmons sat down with former teammate JJ Redick to discuss a variety of topics, the former sharpshooter asked him about that infamous play. Simmons defended himself while explaining that he thought Trae Young was going for the block, and he thought it was better to pass the ball to Matisse Thybulle in that scenario.
“In the moment, I just spun, and I’m just assuming Trae is gonna come over quicker,” Simmons said. “So I’m thinking he’s gonna come full blown, and I see Matisse going — you know, Matisse is athletic, can get up, so I’m thinking, ok, quick pass, he’s gonna flush it, not knowing how much space there was.”
Simmons even thought the Sixers could have made another play but admitted that he should have dunked that ball instead of passing it up.
“Man, I should’ve just punched that sh*t. But it didn’t happen, and I was ok with that, I can live with that, I can live with — everyone’s trying to kill me over one play, like, does everyone wanna watch film with me?” Simmons said. “Like, the whole arena? I can dissect everything, if you guy want, but that’s not realistic.”
In the end, the Sixers couldn't win with Ben Simmons on the roster. He made big demands during his time there and couldn't deliver. Now, he's in Brooklyn trying to have a fresh start with the Nets. These two teams are expected to compete in the playoffs next year, and their prior history will be a huge factor if they clash.