Ben Simmons is one of the most talented players in the league. He's a lockdown defender and a top-notch playmaker but he's been exposed in the playoffs over and over.
Simmons' lack of shooting has been a liability for the Philadelphia 76ers, up to the point where Doc Rivers had to take him out in crunch time to avoid intentional fouls.
That's why ESPN's Stephen A. Smith went at Simmons again, claiming that he's the reason why the Sixers won't win an NBA Championship:
"I’ve had this conversation with Doc Rivers at the beginning of the season. I’ll say it again, I said it to him, I said to everybody who would listen, Ben Simmons can’t shoot and as a result, that’s why the Philadelphia 76ers ain’t gonna win the title. When your primary ball-handler and decision-maker is not a threat to shoot the ball beyond five feet, that is a problem," Smith said.
"Then when you take into account the free-throw shooting, Ben Simmons has missed 26 of 39 free throws. That’s 12-for-39 shooting from the free-throw line. He’s missed more free throws than the entire Atlanta Hawks squad. It’s just embarrassing, it’s pathetic, it’s inexcusable, and it makes you wonder what the hell these people are doing in their offseason," he added.
Should the Sixers beat the Hawks in Game 7, they'd still have to go through the Milwaukee Bucks or Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference Finals, and they're not going to cut him any slack.
The Sixers have one of the deepest teams in the league and they have a strong shot at making it to the NBA Finals. Simmons can guard one through five and run the offense like the best of them but he's got to step up as a scorer.