Jun 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) shoots baskets prior to playing the Atlanta Hawks in game six in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Simmons is back at practice with the Philadelphia 76ers but that doesn’t mean things are going well. In fact, you could even make the case that things are now even worse than they were before.

We knew it was going to be an intriguing year for Simmons and the Sixers but we had no idea just how much. Following all the drama that came after Simmons’ poor playoff performance last year, the guard made it clear that he didn’t want to report to camp and demanded a trade. Head coach Doc Rivers tried to smooth things over and media critics certainly had opinions as well. But it wasn’t until Simmons realized how much money he might lose that made him show up for practice.

However, just because he showed up doesn’t mean he’s trying very hard. And when photos emerged of Simmons practicing with his phone in his pocket on Monday, everyone knew this was going to get ugly.


Sure enough, it was reported on Tuesday morning that Simmons has been suspended for one game for “detrimental conduct” to the team. That means that Simmons will not play in the Sixers’ season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.

As for what caused the kerfuffle, it actually wasn’t the phone. Instead, it was Simmons refusing to take part in a defensive drill, which, is too ironic for many Sixers fans to truly appreciate.

Rivers addressed the media after practice and said that he “thought [Simmons] was a distraction today,” adding “I don’t think he wanted to do what everyone else was doing.”

“I’m going to give Ben every chance to be part of the team…as a coach I have to protect the team first,” Rivers added. “My job as a coach is to keep trying to get guys to buy in … that’s my job. I’m not going to stop my job.”

Perhaps the harshest critic of Simmons on the day was Joel Embiid, who said it’s not the job of the players to “babysit somebody.”

“At the end of the day our job is not to babysit somebody,” said Embiid. “We get paid to push us on the court, go out, play hard, win some games. That’s all we get paid for. We don’t get paid to come out here and try to babysit somebody. I’m sure my teammates feel that way.”

Also, it’s worth noting that Embiid says that he and Simmons have not spoken since practice started.

There’s pretty much no way the Simmons-Sixers saga doesn’t end poorly, but in the meantime, the social media reactions are coming in hot and coming in strong.


The big question is, if Simmons wants to be traded but keeps acting like this, how will any other NBA team give up valuable resources to acquire him without assuming he’s just going to do the same thing to them in a couple of years? The mind, it boggles.

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.