Ben. Simmons.

I don’t even know what’s going on in this man’s head. He is completely afraid of the rim:

When you look at the still shot, it’s insane that he did not go up with the ball here:

This man needs to see a sports psychologist or something. It is 100% a confidence thing. He has absolutely zero confidence in his offensive game. I’ve never seen a guy this shook.

The funniest thing is that Trae Young is basically the anti-Ben Simmons: he has absolutely zero fear of missing a shot. Trae Young doesn’t give a fuck. He will just keep jacking up shots until they start going in. He was 5-23 from the floor in this game–1-12 in the first half. Didn’t matter. He just kept shooting. And he was rewarded: he hit a huge three towards the end of the game that put Atlanta up for good.

I think it’s safe to say Trae Young has officially arrived. That’s how it tends to happen with young superstars in the NBA: they tend to arrive a lot quicker than any of us expect. Before this series, I think the general consensus was, “Yeah, Trae is good, but this is Philly’s time. Trae’s time will come eventually, though.”

Nope. He’s ready to win now. He’s not waiting in line.

It happened with Luka this year, too: although they lost the series to the Clippers, Luka was the best player on the court the whole time.

LeBron made his first Finals at age 22. Michael Jordan dropped 63 in the playoffs in his second season as a pro, and in his third year he averaged 37 a game.

It happens quickly with superstars. They have a tendency to exceed our already-high expectations much faster than we expect them to.

However, Atlanta does not win this game without Kevin Huerter. He showed up: 27 points, 7 rebounds on 10-18 shooting. He came up huge. Also, Danilo Gallinari, in 30 minutes off the bench, had 17 points on 6-13 shooting including a huge steal on Embiid and a subsequent fast break dunk that basically put the game away for good.

Then you had John Collins, who was a beast down low: 14 points, 16 rebounds on 5-6 shooting. It was a great team win for Atlanta.

Philly lost this series to Atlanta not because Embiid wasn’t 100%, but because their #2 option has the mentality of the 10th guy on the roster.

Joel Embiid (31 points, 11 rebounds on 11-21 shooting), Tobias Harris (24 points, 14 rebounds on 8-24) and Seth Curry (16 points on 6-10 shooting) tried to get Philly over the finish line, but they just could not overcome Ben Simmons’ complete unwillingness to shoot the basketball. Simmons had 5 points on 4 field goal attempts.

FOUR FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS IN THE WHOLE GAME.

For the fourth consecutive game, Ben Simmons did not attempt a field goal in the 4th quarter.

Kenny Smith summed it up well after the game. He said that three months ago, Ben Simmons was an All Star and nobody doubted that. And now he’s become a liability. That is 100% a confidence thing.

I don’t know what Philly is going to do about Simmons. This man’s contract doesn’t expire until 2025. He will be making an average of $35 million a year for the next four years. It might be the worst contract in the league at this point.

Doc Rivers is going to have to fix him. I don’t know how to do it, because Ben Simmons is the one who needs to get his confidence back. But it won’t be easy to trade him. I really don’t see any option for Philly other than to lock him in a gym and make him shoot thousands of free throws and jump shots.

Octavian

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