Reggie Miller, NBA analysts blast Ben Simmons for quitting on Nets

Maybe Doc Rivers was right after all.

Ben Simmons is shrinking again under immense pressure and spotlight.

With the Brooklyn Nets facing elimination against the Boston Celtics on Monday night, Simmons suddenly woke up with back soreness Sunday morning after approximately 10 days of pain-free ramp up following recovery from a herniated disc, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The timing couldn’t come at the worst possible time as the Nets are one loss away from an embarrassing first-round sweep after being installed as the odds-on favorite before the season.

In the wake of the news, NBA legend turned TNT analyst Reggie Miller did not hold back and had a scathing remark about Simmons’ disposition.

Simmons hasn’t played since last year’s playoffs where he passed up a wide-open dunk in the crucial moments of the Philadelphia 76ers’ loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

It went downhill from there for Simmons.

And this latest development has only made it worse.

It was not only Miller who publicly voiced their displeasure about Simmons’ decision to sit out after raising hopes that he would play in Game 4. ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins and Stephen A. Smith and The Ringer’s Bill Simmons joined the conversation.

After the Nets lost the first two games on the road, Simmons ramped up his activity and talked to reporters about his planned return this season.

“It’s literally day-to-day,” Simmons told reporters on Friday. “So, I’ve had plenty of great days, which has been great for me in building up. So, we’re just trying to put those great days together and just keep building up to get back on the floor and play at that high level.”

Before Game 3, Nets coach Steve Nash said Simmons was fine and did not have any setback though he was non-committal on Simmons’ potential return in Game 4. He explained there are several factors

“I think it’s possible, but I’m not sure,” Nash told reporters. “It’s like I said before, it’s not a normal return to play, having been out for nine months and being injured as long as he has been at the back end of this — it’s been about two months now.”

It has been more than two months since the Nets acquired him as the centerpiece of the James Harden blockbuster trade.

“So it’s not just he got through three workouts. He’s ready to play, you know, there’s a lot of bigger picture and bigger context — how he’s feeling and how he would be to adapt to the environment. Now, it’s a little different than playing a game that is stashed away in the middle of the regular season. So, I think a few factors are at play here to evaluate when he’s ready to play,” Nash added.

When pressed if the result of Saturday’s game would determine Simmons’ status for Game 4, Nash skirted back to the main question.

“I think it’s really a matter of if Ben is ready to play whether it’s 3-0 or 2-1 or whatever the score in the series,” Nash said. “The bigger factor is, is he ready to play?”

Simmons answered with a resounding ‘No’ on Sunday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Knicks: Divisional front office tweaks could indicate that ‘risk is the new safe’

New York Knicks, Leon Rose

There are a few significant coaching personnel and front office tweaks for New York Knicks fans to keep an eye on in the Atlantic Division, possibly. The Philadelphia 76ers hired Doc Rivers as Head Coach, then went on to hire Daryl Morey as Team President. The Brooklyn Nets hired Steve Nash as Head Coach, then went on to add Mike D’Antoni, Amare Stoudemire, and Ime Udoka to the assistant coaching staff.

76ers have their cornerstones in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, while the Nets will finally have their stars in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving share the court. Of course, none of this matters if injuries keep occurring. Front office positioning also wouldn’t matter if there isn’t an improvement on the basketball court for the Nets and 76ers.

However, improvement to two playoff teams in Brooklyn and Philadelphia could rightfully steer the New York Knicks into an even stronger player developmental stance along with a maintained focus on young talent acquisition.

The Knicks won’t win anything now in the Eastern Conference, therefore, why not put all the emphasis on solidifying the foundation for the near future and long term? With fans being away from the game during the pandemic, Knicks have time to build without Madison Square Garden’s infamous fan and media impatience pouring pressure on the franchise and its young players.

Atlantic Divisional front office tweaks mentioned above could indicate that “risk is the new safe” for the New York Knicks moving forward, especially in the upcoming draft on November 18th, 2020.

The New York Knicks did their own coaching personnel and front office adjustment earlier this summer with the hiring of President Leon Rose, Executive Vice President/Senior Basketball Advisor William Wesley, former Utah Jazz Vice President of Player Personnel Walt Perrin, former Utah Jazz Assistant Coach Johnny Bryant, former ten-year Assistant Coach of the Kentucky Wildcats Kenny Payne, and a new, yet seasoned Head Coach in Tom Thibodeau.

Leon Rose has plenty of connections due to his time as an agent with Creative Artists Agency. William Wesley, also known as “World Wide Wes,” is basically the most connected man in the entire basketball world period. Bill Simmons of The Ringer wasn’t afraid to touch on a rumor circulating the NBA regarding all the connections Leon Rose and “World Wide Wes” have in the entire basketball landscape.

Recently on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Simmons talked about NBA insiders having legit fear about the New York Knicks becoming the “Kentucky pipeline team.” Bill Simmons states the following on the podcast along with Kevin O’Conner:

 

 

There’s also a real fear in the NBA. I’m fine talking about this. It’s rumor, heresy stuff. But it’s just a fact. Kentucky, Worldwide Wes had a great relationship with John Calipari. CAA’s got multiple Kentucky guys and there’s a real fear in the league that the Knicks are going to become the Kentucky pipeline team.

 

 

Devin Booker is a great example of that, right? Even though he’s on a big deal right now, at some point if he wanted to move out of there…

 

 

The league is kind of watching the Kentucky factor with that team.

 

 

I think even [Anthony] Davis, if the Lakers hadn’t won the title this year, who knows? Right? Are we positive he would have stayed? I don’t know. All of the signs, all of the dialogue was like ‘LeBron and him love each other’. But who knows what would have happened?

Simmons believes there’s a CAA client that the Knicks love due to assumed access to extra intel and information on draft prospects as a result of Leon Rose and “World Wide Wes” CAA connections. Bill Simmons believes the Knicks will take advantage throughout the draft process.

With that being said, the Knicks are positioned for the future, whether it’s long-term or short-term. The focus is on player development, however, team development is the ultimate goal, and it could happen very soon with the help of Leon Rose and “World Wide Wes.”

In the upcoming draft, there are plenty of young prospects the Knicks could take a big home-run swing at. Knicks have many avenues available to them in terms of acquiring young talent. Whether it’s trading down in the draft or acquiring more draft picks on a contract dump from another team, the possibilities are exciting and endless. This points to an opportunistic approach for the Knicks to take on draft night. They may take chances on young prospects with very high ceilings. “Risk is currently the new safe” for the New York Knicks thanks to Leon Rose and “World Wide Wes.”

Kira Lewis, Isaac Okoro, Devin Vassell, Precious Achiuwa, Patrick Williams, Immanuel Quickley, and Tyrese Maxey, amongst others, are prospects suitable for the current Knick player developmental staff to hone into potential stars for the future of Knick basketball. A potential late first-round candidate to keep an eye on as a pure upside pick is the 6’10” 7’0″ wingspan 200 lbs Jaden McDaniels out of Washington University in Seattle, Washington.

November 18th will be a very interesting draft date due to so many scenarios involving all NBA teams in the lottery as well as salary cap implications. My advice, have your popcorn ready that night.

New York Sports Are Going Through Something…Well, Comical

As the great George Carlin used to say….these are the thoughts running through my head when I’m home alone and the lights go out…

I’ve enjoyed watching the Lebron James attrition tour this season. Is everyone aware he’s the same age as Andre Iguodala? Why would any free agent want to go play with him in L.A. for his age 36 and 37 seasons? The minute Paul George decided not to come to LA the Lakers should have told Lebron thanks but no thanks and stuck with the kids and Luke Walton. The next 2 years are going to be a glorious dumpster fire for all the Lebron and Laker haters…you know..decent human beings.

Another quick NBA thought I haven’t seen anywhere yet. If KD comes to NY as many seem to think, Golden State is sure to resign Klay Thompson. The following season Draymond Green and Iguodala come off the books. If Anthony Davis is smart he would refuse to resign with anyone he’s traded to next year and see if Golden State comes with a max offer. Steph would be going into his age 32 season and Klay 30 with AD 27, wouldn’t that be the most Golden Statesy move to make?

The Phillies have to be feeling great giving 13 years and $330 million dollars to an empty-headed poodle like Bryce Harper who immediately tripped over his own dick and talked about bringing a title back to DC. I’ve seen that once before in a press conference…..in the opening montage of BaseKetball (an underrated classic movie).  At least he’s hit 30 Homer’s twice in seven seasons and batted .300 twice as well…once he even did both in the same year. Good thing Philly fans are intelligent rational people.

The Giants have the 6th pick in this year’s draft and honestly, I hope they take an offensive lineman just to see fans reactions. I think that would finally break the fanbase. Giants fans keep hoping for a Quarterback, remembering how great it was when they took Eli Manning and waiting for the team to deliver again and instead they keep getting Eli Apple and Ereck Flowers (Even our Lord and savior Saquon being selected pissed off half the fanbase at the time.) Giants fans have turned into Weezer fans waiting for the next Pinkerton while the Giants keep giving us the NFL equivalent of Hurley.

The Jets are going to sign Leveon Bell because that’s what the Jets do. They should make him wear a Ladanian Tomlinson throwback Jets Jersey at the press conference. Everything the Jets do is another step on their path to ruin. Sam Darnold and his forehead had that fantastic game to start the season against Detroit and he spent the rest of the year winging spirals to the other team and their best defensive player openly talked about how sick of losing he was. Bringing in an expensive running back whose career is at the top of the hill before he starts accelerating down the other side and hiring a coach who thought Jay Cutler was the solution to his QB issues is pretty on brand for the Jets.

Troy Tulowitzki and Greg Bird have looked great so far in Spring training but I still keep picturing Jacoby Ellsbury sitting at a table at the Cheesecake Factory telling a waiter he’s not quite ready to order yet, his friends will be there soon. I hope I’m wrong and both stay healthy and productive but I’ve been burned before by Bird as a fan, and Tulo has murdered me and so many others in fantasy baseball that he should have to wear a mask like Hannibal Lecter when he comes up to bat. Quid pro quo Clarice.

Do the Mets still play in MLB or were they kicked out as they do with shitty soccer teams so someone else can be in the league. If not could we try that this year? Boot the Mets and put the Roanoke River Rats in the NL East? Maybe Manny Machado could toil away his career in front of no one there instead of San Diego.

Finally, I wanna call out a writer who has disappointed me so much the last week. If I see the “He’s been going off the rails” quote about Robert Kraft from Bill Simmons one more time I’m going to be sick. It’s one thing to be a passionate fan of a team, it’s another to make excuses for despicable behavior and to try to downplay it.

Robert Kraft is a billionaire, I’m sure there were ways for him to get whatever he was trying to get from his spa debacle without taking advantage of women who were essentially held captive. Just because it’s a misdemeanor and he will probably get out of it criminally doesn’t make it any less reprehensible. Blaming the media for making it a “bigger deal” then it should be is also garbage. The owner of the NFL champions solicited sex acts from a victim of human trafficking the morning of the AFC title game….seems like a pretty big story to me. You would have hoped for better than this from Simmons…..oh well Go Sawx amirite?