On Tuesday, Ben Simmons posted yet another Instagram story of him working out. The image was undated and didn’t have any location information, but was credited to Craig Turner, a well-known personal trainer who worked with the 76ers when Simmons was in Philly. Turner appears alongside Simmons...
In recent weeks, Simmons has posted images of him working out both at HSS Training Center in Brooklyn and the University of Miami gym but none of him on the court. (A video that circulated of him purportedly working out at the University of Georgia is several years old, reports his agent, Bernie Lee. Ben Simmons trolling, of course, is a big thing in certain zipcodes.)
Meanwhile in Australia, enthusiasm for a Simmons stint with the national team at the FIBA World Cup remains unabated. Brian Goorjian, the Boomers head coach, was again quoted this week on how the team could use the 6’11” guard/forward in his schemes at the World Cup. Boomers training camp opens August 1 in Cairns in Australia’s north.
“You look at our roster and if there is an area of concern it would probably be size, but (in Ben) you’ve got a situation of a guy who can guard and do whatever he wants offensively,” Goorjian told the media Down Under.
“The ball is in his hands, and you are going to give him the freedom to do that. Then defensively he is a very good defender. He can guard multiple positions and for us possibly five.
“One of the things we’re talking about heading into this (World Cup) is what we’re going to do to the opposition and their bigs, and he (Ben) would be very helpful there.”
Simmons was not named to Australia’s 18-man preliminary roster headed by his Nets teammate Patty Mills, but Goorjian said that was basically paperwork and he is holding a spot open for Simmons if he is ready.
One of Australia’s most experienced players both from an international and NBA perspective, Matthew Dellavedova endorsed Simmons playing for the national team.
“I think it would be great for him,” Dellavedova said. “He obviously has unique size, athleticism, vision, passing ability and would add a different dimension to the group.. Hopefully he can get healthy and be a part of it.”
An Australian basketball blogger, Michael Houben of The Pick and Roll, was also out this week with an analysis of how Simmons could help the Boomers ... along with some skepticism.
With a lack of floor spacing and overall shot making from the perimeter, the scalability of Simmons’ game has always presented challenges, should he not be ball handler across a lion’s share of possessions. A less than peak Simmons would undoubtedly need to make such concessions on the Australian roster. Between Boomers Patty, one of the most dynamic scoring guards in the international game, and the emergence of other ball handlers, specifically Josh Giddey, what value could Simmons potentially provide in a more ancillary role?
Some of Houben’s concerns relate to a Simmons return to Brooklyn as well.
All of this depends on Simmons getting a clean bill of health on his nerve impingement before August 1. There’s nothing official from the Nets since Brian Lewis spoke with his agent two weeks ago.
“Ben has been cleared to progress to his next stage of his rehab and is progressing really well,” Bernie Lee told The Post. “And we remain very excited about his ability to return to form next year.”
Lewis also reported that Simmons would not need a second back surgery as had been feared.
A successful run at the World Cup could be grueling. Training camp runs from August 1 through 10, then the Aussies will participate in four-team exhibition tournament between August 14 and 17, taking on Brazil, Venezuela and South Sudan. Then, after a trip to Japan, they’ll open Cup play on August 25 on the Japanese island of Okinawa. A Finals run would entail nine games ending with the Cup championship game on September 10. NBA teams normally start gathering in training facilities the day after Labor Day, which is September 4 this year. And Sean Marks has said he’s hopeful Simmons would be ready to go full speed around then.
Simmons has told the Australian media that while he wants to play in the World Cup, his health remains his priority. And if the World Cup doesn’t work out, Goorjian believes Simmons could have other opportunities.
“I’m very comfortable with what has been presented – and that is he’ll be there – but if not, hopefully there is an Olympics down the road,” he said of the 2024 Paris Olympics.