Former Sixers big man Dwight Howard comes to defense of Ben Simmons

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A lot has been made of the standoff between the Philadelphia 76ers and 25-year old 3-time All-Star Ben Simmons as both sides continue to try and find a solution to their current situation.

It’s obvious that Simmons does not want to be in Philadelphia anymore, but until the Sixers can find a trade for him, they need him to show up and participate in order to boost his trade value. Simmons has expressed in the past that he wants to return, but he is not mentally ready.

The latest tactic by Simmons and his camp claim that the Sixers are worsening his mental health and that he will not return unless he is mentally ready to do so. There has been a lot of frustration on both sides and Simmons has borne the brunt of a lot of criticism since he wrapped up his poor playoff performance by passing up an open dunk in Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks.

Former Sixers big man Dwight Howard, who spent the 2020-21 season in Philadelphia, was asked about the Simmons situation and he defended the young star. Howard compared it to his situation with the Orlando Magic when it seemed that he was getting blamed for a lot of Orlando’s shortcomings:

I could see that in Ben what was happening with Ben when I was in Orlando. It was some similar things happening. I just didn’t like the fact that whatever was going on on the inside had to be made public knowledge. Now, obviously, I‘be been with Ben a lot, he’s one of my closest friends, so I was upset just to hear all the things that was being said about him. I just was like man, instead of saying it publicly, just address this personally behind closed doors and so now it doesn’t look so bad. When we played the Hawks and we lost, I was upset at Ben on that play. I wanted him to dunk the ball and tear the rim down, but he didn’t do it and it wasn’t just his fault that we lost that series. So my thing was, we can’t just blame him.

Unfortunately, to Howard’s point, this is how it works in the NBA. When a star player does not perform when the game matters the most, he will receive a lot of criticism. Is it right? Maybe, maybe not, but at the end of the day, Simmons has got to get himself together and at least play the good solider card with the Sixers until the organization can find a trade partner for him.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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