The lead-up to the NBA season has been dominated by the Philadelphia 76ers and their ongoing standoff with Ben Simmons. Things appeared to go to another level on Tuesday, as Simmons was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team after kicking him out of practice. From there, Joel Embiid seemed to let his frustrations boil over by saying it’s not the job of anyone on the team to babysit Simmons, among a number of other things that serve as a reminder that this is more than just a staring contest between a front office and one player who wants a fresh start.
Unsurprisingly, a Simmons conversation took place during TNT’s pre-game broadcast on Tuesday evening. Charles Barkley, who has not been shy about how disappointing he finds this entire situation, expressed his belief that everyone in Philly is at fault for how things have gone, even though “Ben Simmons deserves No. 1 [of] the blame.”
"First of all, it's everybody's fault."
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 19, 2021
“The Sixers deserve some blame because they already let this guy not improve and get one coach fired,” Barkley said. “So they deserve some blame for that. They threw Brett Brown under the bus. And the third thing is, Doc Rivers. Last year, we had him on — ‘You guys want me to take Ben Simmons out the game?’ Yeah, we do! If he’s just gonna stand around and not shoot the basketball, then yes we do.
“So there’s plenty of blame to go around,” Barkley continued. “But the No. 1 blame goes to Ben Simmons. Kenny, Shaq — your coach, your mom and dad, you should want to be a better basketball player because that’s your profession, that’s your job. Your coach is important, your mom and dad’s important, but I wanted to be a great basketball player for myself, first and foremost.”
Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal have made clear their disappointment in Simmons throughout this offseason, citing how he’s not as interested in improving as they want him to be.