Philadelphia 76ers fans probably aren't feeling particularly high about Ben Simmons after their team's 103-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Sunday's Game 7 of their second-round playoff series, but he doesn't want to play anywhere else.
"Yeah, I love being in Philly," he told reporters. "I love this organization. The fans are great people. I had a bad series. I expect that (boos). It's Philly."
Simmons is already a three-time All-Star at the age of 24 and could very well be on his way to an excellent career, but his performance in this series will not be remembered fondly.
Even with his rebounding, assists and defense, he shot an ugly 15-of-45 (33.3 percent) from the free-throw across seven games and had to be benched in critical moments so Atlanta didn't foul him. He also passed up a number of shots in Game 7, including a potential dunk in a critical moment during the fourth quarter.
It reached the point where the Hawks sagged so far off him they could easily send an additional defender toward Joel Embiid, which led to stagnant offense a number of times.
"I don't know the answer to that," head coach Doc Rivers told reporters when asked if Simmons could be the point guard of a championship winner.
Simmons is under contract through the 2024-25 campaign, so Philadelphia is staring at a situation where it needs to either trade him or continue building around him and Embiid. The formula hasn't worked to this point, as the team hasn't advanced past the second round since Allen Iverson led a run to the 2001 NBA Finals.
Being the No. 1 seed and losing to the Hawks at home in Game 7 when Trae Young shot 5-of-23 from the field is close to unacceptable from Philadelphia's perspective, and Simmons' performance was a major reason for the stunning result.
He wants to stay, but it may be up to the 76ers whether they explore potential trades this offseason.