76ers' Ben Simmons Reportedly Doubtful to Play for Australia in 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 21, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons wipes his face after missing a pair of free-throws during the first half of Game 5 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Don't expect to see Ben Simmons lacing it up for the Australian national team during this summer's Tokyo Olympics.

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the Philadelphia 76ers guard is "doubtful to play" in the Games and will instead take the offseason to improve with an eye on the 2021-22 NBA campaign after his team was eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the playoffs.

While Simmons did not play in the 2016 Olympics as the No. 1 overall pick of that year's draft prepared for the start of his NBA career, it appeared as if he might join the team for this summer's Games when he was part of the team's announced 24-man squad in February.

"It would be an amazing honor to play for my country," he told reporters at the time. "I know things are uncertain right now but I've been in touch with Coach [Brian] Goorjian and we're hopeful I can join the Boomers."

Perhaps the timing of the Olympics with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23 has something to do with the decision for the three-time All-Star.

After all, he was the subject of heavy criticism following Philadelphia's second-round loss considering he consistently passed up shots, struggled on the free-throw line at 15-of-45 (33.3 percent) across the seven games and was benched in critical moments because of his offensive shortcomings.

The result has been rumors about the 76ers potentially looking to trade him and his own head coach Doc Rivers telling reporters, "I don't know the answer to that," when asked if he believes Simmons can be the point guard for a championship team.

The LSU product will be under the microscope wherever he plays during the 2021-22 campaign, so he could look to use the summer to extensively work on his game instead of focusing on competing in the Olympics and disrupting his schedule.


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