‘Stop Messing Up’: Shaquille O’Neal Reminds 76ers’ Ben Simmons From Where He Comes

Published 06/20/2021, 5:36 AM EDT
May 29, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) celebrates with 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) against the Washington Wizards in the third quarter during game three in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks have entered the NBA Eastern Conference finals for the second time in three years. Even though Kevin Durant put up a gargantuan effort, Giannis and Middleton guided the Bucks through in a tightly contested game. On the other hand, they await the winners of the Hawks and 76ers series. As the series is tied 3-3, game 7 will be penultimate for both teams to advance into the finals. Despite Embiid performing well and Seth Curry shooting the lights out, Ben Simmons has not stepped up for the team.


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Shaq threw some limelight on Simmons in a recent interview.

Jun 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) works against Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) during the first quarter in game six in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Shaq’s advice to Ben Simmons


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While Simmons is important for the franchise, the numbers put up on the board have not been extraordinary. In the recent episode of Inside the NBA, Shaquille O’Neal spoke about the improvement that Ben Simmons needs to make for the franchise to advance past the Hawks.

“Hey, Ben, you went to LSU. Man up. Stop messing around, come on now. You know you better than that. 

“LSU is the only place in the NBA with three players in the top 50,” said Shaq.

O’Neal stressed how Simmons was important for the franchise, despite being less impactful in the series. In addition, Shaq spoke about how LSU was one of the top colleges in America while producing top players year after year. Pete Maravich, Bob Pettit, Ben Simmons, and Shaq himself have all graduated from this famous university. With the talent coming out from the university, Shaq spoke about Simmons having to raise his game to the standards the fans expect of him.

Simmons truly is a gifted player, and more than capable of producing good performances on the court.


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Simmons needs to step up

There are few players in the league who possess the skill set of Ben Simmons. The ability to defend and creating shot opportunities for others makes him an entertaining prospect. But Simmons has not played well in his series against the Atlanta Hawks. In the six games he played, he averaged 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 8.4 assists per game. Likewise, he gets 1.6 steals and 1 block per game contributing well to the defensive side of the game.

But these levels are inferior to his usual standards.


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As Trae Young is having an incredible series, Ben needs to focus on his defensive side of the game for now. Despite being not blessed with an extraordinary offensive skill set, the defensive contributions are quite noticeable. Restricting Young below 20 points might take the 76ers home. However, Simmons needs to step up and be counted for.

For Philadelphia to advance they need Simmons to step up. Despite Embiid and Curry sharing the load on the offensive side of the game, Simmons’ performances will be important for the franchise. The point guard will be key to the 76ers chances in the playoffs.


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Jacob Gijy

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Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.