Ben Simmons on Critics: Not Trying to Prove Anybody Wrong...Trying to Win a Title

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 27, 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 26: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers dunks over Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards during Game Two of the Eastern Conference first round series at Wells Fargo Center on May 26, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Ben Simmons faced some criticism after scoring just six points in the Philadelphia 76ers Game 1 win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday, despite contributing 15 points and 15 assists. 

After putting in 22 points during Philly's 120-95 blowout win on Wednesday night, however, Simmons said his goal wasn't to prove his critics wrong. 

"I thought it was pretty hard to get 15 rebounds and 15 assists in the playoffs," he told reporters. "I'm here to win, and I'm doing whatever it takes to help my team win. I'm not trying to prove anybody wrong... I'm trying to win a championship."

Before Wednesday's game, Rivers told reporters he thought it was ridiculous Simmons faced any criticism after Game 1:

“Only in Philadelphia. If you guys don’t know the treasure you have by now, then shame on everyone because he’s been fantastic for us. He creates points every single night for us. When Ben was on the floor, we were really good.
“I’m amazed that people don’t see what he does. We’re so caught up in the amount of points he scored. … Does it matter if Ben had all 125? Would we be mad that Joel [Embiid] didn’t score? Who cares who scores as long as we’re scoring. … When Ben plays, we score more points.”

The narrative around Simmons' game for his entire career has always been the conflict between his elite traits (his defense, passing and ability to push the pace in transition) and his deficiencies (an aversion to shooting jump shots, stretches of scoring passivity). 

When Simmons is aggressive on the offensive end, good things happen for Philadelphia. He's tough to keep out of the lane given his speed and size, and guards struggle to body him up when he gets the ball down in the post.


Simmons (22 PTS, 9 REB, 8 AST) and Embiid (22 PTS, 7 REB) handled business tonight 🙌 pic.twitter.com/ToRmF08Lri

Interestingly enough, though, the team was just 3-5 this season when Simmons scored 20 or more points. When he had 10 or more assists, however, the team went 8-2. 

The Sixers seem to be perfectly happy with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris pacing the scoring, Seth Curry and Danny Green stretching the floor and raining threes when Simmons finds them (or Embiid kicks it out to the perimeter when he's doubled). 

That formula, along with an excellent defense, earned Philly the top seed in the Eastern Conference and has them up 2-0 on the Wizards. A nice scoring night from Simmons, like he provided on Wednesday, is a bonus.

But as long as he's finding teammates for easy looks and playing lockdown defense, the Sixers are going to be a tough out.