All last week the talk was that Ben Simmons would be back for Game 4 of the Celtics series. Maybe even Game 3. But definitely Game 4. Not that he would necessarily be a difference-maker in the series, but just that he would be in an NBA game.
It's been almost 2 years. The mental health issues were important to address and thankfully he seems to have made progress there. I wish him well. But since the Sixers trade that sent Simmons to Brooklyn, it's been mostly about the back. Every game, he sits on the bench in some loud suit, just drawing attention to the fact that he is getting paid incredibly well to watch these games from a courtside seat.
I would be hiding on that bench, hoping to go unnoticed.
And then the day before Game 4, he says his back is sore and he is out again. I can't imagine that sits very well with KD, who has had to wait for Kyrie all season and now has to watch Simmons sit another one out. Now maybe the Nets, being down 3-0, decided he should call it quits for the season. Again.
But Ben should've taken whatever soreness was in his back and gotten out there and tried. If only to gain the respect of his teammates who see him sitting there each night in a million dollar suit instead of a Nets uniform.
Without that respect from the players, it will make a long offseason even longer.