Doc Rivers On Ben Simmons: "We Would Love To Get Him Back"
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers is garnering strong reactions on Twitter after his comments Wednesday morning, responding to whether or not star guard Ben Simmons will remain in a 76ers’ uniform as the new NBA season tips-off next month.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Simmons will not report to 76ers camp next week and that he does not intend to play another game with the team, though still under contract.
Rivers appeared on ESPN’s First Take Wednesday morning and responded to Woj’s report, and attempted to clarify his own stance on Simmons and his importance to the 76ers’ organization.
“I’ve always defended him [Ben Simmons]. I just love how he plays,” Rivers told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. “I love a lot of the things that he does for our team. Unfortunately, we focus so much on his offense and we don’t focus on a lot of the other things he does. Ben has been under a lot of pressure in Philadelphia, we know that.”
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“Having said that, we were one game away from the Eastern [Conference] Finals last year. No one picked us to be where we were at. And so, I look at last year as the first step, not the last step. But we have to go through all this to get him back. There’s no doubt about that. ”
Rivers also took exception when Stephen A. reminded him of his comments following the 76ers Game 7 loss in June to the Atlanta Hawks, where Rivers expressed uncertainty when asked whether or not he believes Simmons is the…