About six weeks out from the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Sixers star Ben Simmons is now reportedly doubtful to play with the Australian national team.
Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is "doubtful" to play for Australia in the FIBA World Cup this summer, his agent Rich Paul tells ESPN. Simmons is more likely now to spend his full offseason preparing only for the Sixers season -- free of national team responsibilities.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 13, 2019
As a Sixers fan, there are two ways to view this latest development. From a pure basketball standpoint, it seems a shame to miss out on Simmons playing against global competition in a high-pressure environment. The Boomers were set to face Team USA in exhibition games on August 22 and 24; seeing Ben play against a team of mostly NBA All-Stars in a game where both sides were actually trying on both ends of the court could have made for some memorable moments.
On the other hand, Sixers fans have to love the “spend his full offseason preparing only for the Sixers season” portion of Woj’s tweet. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but some people find Simmons’ lack of an outside shot to be a weakness. Two months ago, our Dave Early analyzed whether Simmons was taking the growth of his jump shot seriously enough. If Ben has backed out of playing with Team Australia because he is 100 percent committed to having that jump shot ready in a usable form when the NBA season rolls around, that’s undeniably a categorical win for the Sixers.
There’s even another bright side, Sixers fans: Simmons’ withdrawal can only help Jonah Bolden’s chances of making the Boomers’ final 12-man roster.
What do you think? Is part of you still bummed by the prospect of not seeing Ben Simmons play on the world stage? Or do you only recognize this as a positive for the Sixers?