NBA fans will never forget Ben Simmons missing a dunk during Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The former Philadelphia 76ers guard passed the ball instead of a dunk over Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young, which resulted in a failed move.
The 76ers lost the game and the series, and the consequences were swift. Coach Doc Rivers questioned Simmons’ ability at the post-game press conference, and team president Daryl Morey reportedly attempted to switch the 6’10” point guard after the season.
Of course, the situation went from bad to worse. Simmons never played for the 76ers again. Eventually, the 3x NBA All-Star was traded to the Brooklyn Nets on February 10, 2022. Simmons still hasn’t played since the 2021 NBA playoffs, so the enduring image in fans’ minds is the botched play.
Former 76ers point guard JJ Redick recently interviewed his former teammate on his podcast The Old Man and the Three. Fans can watch the full interview here. It was no surprise that Redick asked Simmons to give his side of the story.
Simmons provided the following explanation.
“Right now, I just spun around, and I’m guessing Trae will come faster. So I’m thinking he’s going to come in full force, and I see Matisse (Thybulle) going – You know, Matisse is athletic, can get up. So I’m thinking ok, go fast. He has to flush, not knowing how much space there was. It happened so fast you just took a reading.
And in the playoffs, you have to make the right decisions most of the time. And at that moment, I mean, bro, it happened, and I was like, ‘Okay. **** now we have to make another move. That’s how I’m thinking. So I didn’t realize how, you know, everyone was posting it, and I was like, was it that big?”
Simmons concluded by saying that he should have dunked the ball and was fine with how it all turned out. Earlier this summer, Redick interviewed Young and asked about the play.
The Hawks guard said: “I think he kind of knew I was going to foul, and that’s why he passed. You know, in those moments when you spin, it’s a quick moment. He might not know it was me. . . He sees a blue shirt right behind me, which he can just leave and maybe make a layup.”
Young continued, “I mean, it’s a bang-bang play, and it sucks for him. I understand it’s a tough play because he’s a good player. I hate how people talk about how bad he is. talking about the recency bias because I think he’s a really good player.”
Now that fans have heard everyone’s side of the story, we hope to offer some closure on the sore subject. But that doesn’t mean Philly fans will forgive Simmons anytime soon. Stay locked in on AllHawks.com for all the Atlanta Hawks news.
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