Boomers legend Shane Heal on why Ben Simmons needs to put his NBA future ahead of the Olympics

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There is no questioning Ben Simmons not playing for Australia at the Olympics will hurt the Boomers’ medal chances, but I can understand Ben’s decision given how far his shooting has regressed.

I mean, he is now shooting 33 per cent from the free-throw line as the worst free-throw shooter in NBA playoff history.

Ben’s shot is broken, and he needs to start again with the fundamentals.

Defensively and rebounding, he is off the charts, but there must be something in him that hasn’t done the work day to day to get his shooting technique right to evolve his game.

I’m just not sure that he has the work ethic to make the necessary improvements because he hasn’t displayed it yet.

When he first came into the league, he would shoot long twos, but he has regressed so far that he doesn’t really take any shots from outside the key.

That is now to the extent where he only had four field goal attempts in the Game 7 loss to Atlanta because there is this fear that he is going to get fouled and go to the free-throw line where he has struggled.

I’m not too sure that we’ve seen a superstar come back that far at one aspect of the game, especially when everyone thought that he was going to rival the all-time greats he has been compared to like Magic Johnson and LeBron James.

It’s why news that Simmons is set to pull out of Australia’s Tokyo campaign didn’t surprise me despite so many people being shocked.

I’ve been on record for a while now doubting that Ben was ever going to go because I’ve always thought that representing Australia isn’t his passion.

You must be committed to what it means to be a Boomer and Ben has never displayed that, especially after pulling out of Australian campaigns in the past like the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2019 World Cup.

That is why I believe the Boomers have had to be able to continue to forge forward and develop other players that are committed to play year in and year out like Bogut, Ingles, Mills and Dellavedova.

These guys that display everything that it takes that was handed to them from my era and the guys from before us.

I think Ben will play for Australia, but when it fits his timeframes. Unfortunately, you can never rely on that nor build a team culture.

So, where to now for Simmons?

There is no doubt that he is the scapegoat for the 76ers’ post-season woes, and he is going to get traded. He is done.

There are good and bad trades for Ben, but there are a few scenarios where he needs to go with the right culture and people so he can resurrect his game.

A team like Golden State with shooters like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson would be a perfect fit.

I also think the Warriors are a good environment under coach Steve Kerr, while they have the people to embrace Ben.

I also think the Utah Jazz would be perfect for Simmons. I’m not sure the assets the Jazz would have to sign him, but they need to improve their team.

Ben’s trade value has gone right down, so maybe this is something that Utah can do to make their team better.

The worrying thing for me is if Simmons got traded to a club like Detroit, a team that is failing and will take a long time to recover.

There would be a lot of pressure on Ben, which would be worse for him.

Regardless, Simmons is at a crucial stage of his NBA career, and I can understand why going to the Olympics isn’t a priority at this point.


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