US basketball

Sixers suspend Ben Simmons for one game

Reuters
Sixers suspend Ben Simmons for one game

TEAM TROUBLE. Joel Embiid (left) and the Sixers say Ben Simmons has been a 'distraction' to the team.

Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

‘At the end of the day, our job is not to babysit somebody,’ says Joel Embiid as fellow Sixers star Ben Simmons was told to go home for not being engaged during practice

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons was thrown out of practice Tuesday, October 19, and suspended for one game by the team.

Simmons will miss Philadelphia’s season opener at New Orleans on Wednesday.

Simmons was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, per a 76ers statement. Simmons was not engaged during practice and was tossed by coach Doc Rivers, who afterward was asked if he thinks Simmons wants to be a part of the team.

“Well today not, obviously. We told him to go home,” Rivers said. “But hopefully at some point, yeah, I do.”

Rivers said he booted Simmons from practice for being a “distraction.” Simmons declined several times to sub into a drill, according to ESPN.

“I didn’t think he wanted to do what everybody else was doing,” Rivers said. “It was early. It wasn’t a big deal. I just told him he should leave. We went on with practice.

“At the end of the day as a coach I have to protect the team. Team first, and then we get to the other part. Today I thought it was more important to focus on the team.”

Sixers superstar center Joel Embiid had much stronger words for Simmons.

“At this point I don’t care about that man, honestly. He does whatever he wants,” Embiid said. “I’m only focused on trying to make the team better, win some games, play hard every night, try to lead the guys that we have here.”

“Our chemistry has been excellent, despite everything that’s been happening the last few months so like I said, I don’t really care,” he added.

“At the end of the day, our job is not to babysit somebody.” 

Simmons did not meet with the media and reportedly is no longer conducting interviews.

Simmons practiced Sunday for the first time since reporting to the team on October 11 after an acrimonious offseason that included a trade demand. He missed all four of Philadelphia’s preseason contests, leading to $1.4 million in fines by the team, per ESPN. Tuesday was Simmons’ third practice since clearing NBA health-and-safety reentry protocols.

Simmons has been a reluctant participant in practice since returning from his holdout, per ESPN.

Rivers said Sunday the 25-year-old was in “decent shape,” adding that Simmons might not have played against New Orleans anyway, due to his conditioning.

“Still not, obviously, game shape,” Rivers said Sunday.

The three-time All-Star averaged 14.3 points, 6.9 assists, and 7.2 rebounds in 58 games last season. He averaged just 11.9 points in the playoffs while shooting a dismal 34.2% from the free-throw line. – Rappler.com