Nets' Jared Dudley regrets saying 76ers' Ben Simmons was 'average'

Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley set the internet on fire when he called Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons ‘average.’ Now, Dudley is walking back those comments.

Speaking to Marc Stein ahead of his NBA on TNT debut, Dudley said, “I do wish I chose different words.”

Beef explained

During the Eastern Conference first-round matchup between the Nets and 76ers, Dudley gave his thoughts on the young point guard.

“Ben Simmons is a great player in transition,” Dudley told reporters. “And once you get him into halfcourt, he’s average.”

Simmons didn’t put too much stock into Dudley’s criticism. “That’s coming from Jared Dudley,” Simmons told reporters.

Tensions between the two teams continued to rise during the series before exploding in Game 4 when Dudley and Jimmy Butler were ejected after Dudley shoved Joel Embiid.

The incident led Embiid to call Dudley a “nobody” after the game.

Is it too late now to say sorry?

Now, several days removed from being eliminated in the playoffs, Dudley is walking back his original comments made toward Simmons.

Dudley explained where his ‘average’ comments stemmed from saying, “I was breaking down how we were going to guard him — how you try to limit someone like Ben Simmons. I was just trying to say that we would have our best success if we could get him in a halfcourt game.”

Was “average” necessarily the right word to use? “Looking back on it, no,” Dudley said. “It was such a negative reaction after I said it that no one heard I also said he was elite in transition and an elite passer. But, you know, it happens. It’s the playoffs. And I understand the reaction. I understand how it goes.”

While Dudley made his analyst debut Tuesday night, the 76ers will play the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday.

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