‘So overrated you can’t put him in the game’ – The Denver Post


A Knicks analyst unloaded on Ben Simmons a couple days before the interborough rivalry game, labeling the Nets’ point guard as “scared” when asked to identify the league’s most overrated player.

“Most overrated player is Ben Simmons. It’s not even close,” Wally Szczerbiak said Monday night on MSG Network.” The guy couldn’t even play in the playoffs two years ago. Then he was scared to get on the court all of last year. The guy is scared to shoot. He’s the first pick in the NBA draft and you can’t even get him on the basketball floor.”

Simmons, 26, didn’t play all of last season while citing mental health struggles and a back injury. The three-time All-Star staggered his seven appearances this season around a “sore knee,” averaging just 5.6 points on 43% shooting before Wednesday’s game against the Knicks.

Simmons had remained hesitant to shoot or attack the basket, often turning away with the ball and searching for a kick-out pass. He only attempted seven shots outside the paint before Wednesday, missing five of them. He was shooting 47% on free throws.

Szczerbiak, 45, a former All-Star and sixth overall pick, indicated that Simmons is at least partially responsible for the underwhelming team defense that left Steve Nash unemployed (with good pay).

“He’s supposed to be a good defender. He was playing for the Brooklyn Nets and they were giving up 125 points per game and they got their coach (Steve Nash) fired because they couldn’t stop anybody,” Szczerbiak said. “Ben Simmons is so overrated you can’t even put him in the game anymore. It’s a little bit of a shame.”

Simmons, who is expected to play against the Knicks, was torched Monday night by Luka Doncic and acknowledged, “I think I did terrible.”

Simmons added, “I’m my own harshest critic,” which rings hollow to anybody who listened to Sixers fans or Szczerbiak on MSG Network.

“When you have back surgery, and then you’re dealing with your knee, it’s tough,” Simmons said. “But it’s the cards I was dealt, so I’ve gotta push through it.”

Simmons’ regression from a two-way All-Star to his current status would sit atop the disappointment list for any other NBA franchise. But the Nets are lined with issues and suspended their point guard, Kyrie Irving, for his unapologetic response to endorsing an anti-Semitic film.

The Knicks, meanwhile, have been less dysfunctional and dramatic lately but needed a win against the Nets to avoid a losing record.

“That’s their problem,” Julius Randle told reporters when asked about the Nets drama. “All good over here in Knicksland.”



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