NBA

Simmons criticises 76ers for lack of mental health support

By Sports Desk September 22, 2022

Ben Simmons has criticised the Philadelphia 76ers for not giving him the mental health help he required.

The point guard sat out the entirety of last season while dealing with mental health struggles and his time with the Sixers, who drafted him as the first overall pick in 2016, came to an end in February.

A trade with the Brooklyn Nets was completed at the February trade deadline, with James Harden moving in the opposite direction.

Simmons has now claimed he did not get the support he needed from his former team when speaking on JJ Redick's 'Old Man and the Three' podcast.

"I was in such a bad place where I was like, f***, I'm trying to get here and you guys are, like, throwing all these other things at me to where you're not helping. And that's all I wanted, was help," he said.

"I didn't feel like I got (help) from coaches, team-mates, I won't say all team-mates, because there are great guys on that team that did reach out and are still my friends. But I didn't feel like I got that, and it was just a tough place for me."

Simmons also believes the team did not handle things correctly, though he admits he must shoulder some responsibility, and cited Doc Rivers' approach that ultimately led to Simmons' suspension.

"I actually spoke to Doc before practice. I was like, 'Doc, I'm not ready. Mentally, I'm not ready. Please just understand that,'" he added.

"I tried to let him know prior, and he was like, 'Well, I'm going to put you in anyway.' I'm like, 'All right.' He told me to get in. I looked at him. It was like one minute into practice, like, 'Ben, get in.'

"I'm like, first of all, no one's doing that. You're doing this on purpose. And that's how I felt, too. It seems like everyone's trying to f*** with me now. I'm getting fined for not lifting weights, but physically I'm one of the strongest guys on the team.

"So now they're fining me for little things. It was just a build-up. Obviously, I didn't handle things the right way, but, also, the team didn't either, and the people who had that power."

Currently carrying an injury, Simmons is expected to be ready for the start of training camp and is excited to join his new team-mates, sharing his belief they can go all the way.

"It's going to be sick. I can't wait. I'm so excited. Got a new number, new jersey. I'm just looking forward to it," he declared.

"I think we have a special team. I think if we get it all together, we're going to be the champions. That's the end goal."

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    Nash said he wouldn't have a problem giving the 6-foot-10, 230-pound Simmons minutes at centre when the situation calls for it.

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