When the 76ers reunite again on Monday, the stage will be all about Ben Simmons.

There will be questions and speculations about his attitude, his aptitudes, but above all his absence.

Simmons will not attend the team’s media day, which precedes the start of training camp on Tuesday. He won’t be here for that either. The Inquirer reported three weeks ago that he apparently never intended to do another minute of work for the team that made him rich and famous – before he made himself infamous. , when he refused to dunk late in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

READ MORE: Sources: Ben Simmons Tells Team Executives He No Longer Wants To Be A Sixer And Doesn’t Plan To Show Up To Training Camp

Simmons earned $ 56 million in salary with the Sixers, the top 10% earned while sitting on his behind, healing a foot injury. Now, because his usually flattering coach once said that Simmons might not be a championship point guard, Simmons wants out. Now, because his enabling team president has already listened to the commercial offers that allegedly landed James Harden, the NBA’s top scorer for three of the past four seasons, Simmons has decided he hates it here.

And, therefore, he will sit down. And in doing so, he will be a burden and a distraction for this coach, for this GM, but, more overwhelming, he will be the ultimate drag on his teammates.

These Sixers teammates have supported him for the past four seasons, defended him in his foul moments, knowingly mischaracterized his shortcomings (mainly his refusal to shoot from the perimeter) and even tolerated his growing reluctance to absorb the fouls, as Simmons feared the Free Line of Fire.

All season long, as if he were the Suez Canal, Doc Rivers carried water for Simmons. Doc scoffed at anyone who suggested that Simmons – a basketball “treasure” according to Doc – might be a handicap. Rivers was vulgar: “He shouldn’t give a damn” about the critics. Rivers was insulting, twisting a suggestion that Simmons be benched late in games into the idea that he be benched an entire game: “Then I’ll know you don’t know basketball.”

READ MORE: Doc Rivers absurdly defends Ben Simmons; the Sixers star does not need it in the NBA playoffs | Marcus Hayes

Doc even tried to shed some light on us last week, claiming he didn’t say what he clearly said about Simmons’ ability to lead a team to a title.

READ MORE: We all know the truth – and Ben Simmons should be ashamed of what he’s making Doc Rivers and the Sixers do | David Murphy

After the season ended, veteran gunner Danny Green berated fans whose money pays Simmons for booing his imperfections on the pitch. “With a guy like Ben … I think [fans] must stay behind them, and stay beside them as long as they can, until the horn sounds.

READ MORE: Danny Green says Sixers fans should give Ben Simmons ‘that respect and support’

Danny and Doc will be present on Monday.

Well no.

Danny and Doc will look like fools.

Not only will Monday be devoted to Ben Simmons, but so will the drama of the days to come, with no end in sight. This abandonment of his teammates is a horrible thing to see.

That’s because, first of all, Simmons has talent. He could be a Hall of Fame forward; after all, he’s made the last three All-Star games after being Rookie of the Year as an underused point guard. He could be an MVP playing the right position.

It could be discussed on Monday and beyond, but make no mistake: Until he signals or is traded, the Sixers’ 2021-22 season will be all about Ben. His many abilities and his meager flaws will be rehashed until nausea.

It will be his refusal to fill in the gaps. It will be about his intolerance of any public criticism – despite his pursuit of public work, his public display of his new LA home, and his public recess.

It won’t be about Joel Embiid’s unparalleled regular season and playoff performances in 2021. It won’t be about Embiid’s improved conditioning, evolved professionalism or tenacity; how he played on an injured knee and played as the best big man since Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan.

It won’t be about how Seth Curry, Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey matured.

It won’t be how Doc Rivers made the team the No.1 seed in his first season as a head coach. It won’t be how new president Daryl Morey nabbed Curry and Green to fill the NBA’s top five starts. It’ll be about Ben.

Simmons, 25, will become the star child Рfocus on child Рthe indifference of Generation Z. It will be the clich̩, right or wrong, of avocado toast lovers addicted to the iPhone. He will represent the ultimate phantom movement, the person for whom a binding contract means nothing, whose word is worthless, whose whims matter more than the greater good could ever do. It will be the essence of law, devoid of substance.

His face will represent each person for whom loyalty is an alien concept. The person who would betray allies who endlessly defended his honor – an honor that has never existed beyond his allegiance to himself, his agency and his shoe company. He will be the man who refuses to recognize and fill in his gaps; in fact, he will defend them and insult anyone who suggests they exist.

Between his insubordination, condescension, and utter lack of self-awareness, Simmons made himself the least likeable person. Sweaty, shirtless vanity posts on Instagram are one thing. They are explainable, and almost expected, from a peer group that believes social media is the only valid barometer of self-esteem.

But bail out his teammates?

I mean, that’s the kind of thing Carson Wentz would do.

Simmons will refuse to show up for work while occupying a huge chunk of the salary cap. This means that while they won’t have to pay his salary at the start of regular season games, the Sixers won’t spend that $ 33 million on replacement talent. This means that there will be a lack of talent.

Simmons clearly didn’t care.

Not about his teammates.

Not about the city that tried to love it, despite its flaws.

Not about the organization that raised him and gave him what he wanted. This organization now finds itself with an asset in its hands that has sabotaged its own worth, far beyond the fear of jump shots.

Every franchise now knows that Ben Simmons is utterly unreliable, utterly egotistical, a lousy teammate, and a player so crippled with anxieties and ego that he will play the traitor, even if it costs him millions.

And we can all see better now. The Process, based on mass drafting theory, was not guaranteed. It’s impossible to project on draft night which player will be so characterless that he will abandon his friends at the first whiff of any fair comment about his performance.

But at least for a change, Year 9 of the process won’t be its entirely predictable failure.

From Monday, everything will be centered on Ben.


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