Ben Simmons has dealt with a lot of issues both mental and physical over the course of his fairly young NBA career.
This past May he had back surgery for a problem that prevented him from joining the Brooklyn Nets for their brief 2022 playoff run.
But prior to that, Simmons failed to take the court for the Philadelphia 76ers for the entirety of the 2021-22 NBA season due to what he himself described as mental health woes. Because of that his issues have been a frontpage story for more than a year.
A number of players, past and present, have weighed in on some of the psychological barriers that Simmons has faced. This week, Shaquille O’Neal did the same.
In a recent conversation with Australian reporter Damien Haffenden, O’Neal was asked for his thoughts on Simmons and his various issues.
“He has a lot of potential,” the Hall of Famer said of Simmons.
“He’s had a lot of personal problems, Ben doesn’t talk a lot, so nobody really knows what’s going on with him, but I wish him well, and I wish he could fight through what he’s going through and get to that next level.”
A few weeks back, Simmons’ teammate Seth Curry also offered his blunt thoughts on what the Australian-bred star had been going through. And given the nature of their relationship dating back to their days in Philly together, it was illuminating.
Big picture, this is shaping up to be an extremely important year for Simmons.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/fcnbsAxhhM
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 29, 2022
If he can return to form, improve ever so slightly offensively, continue to be the defensive stalwart he was two years ago and regain some semblance of his confidence – the Nets could be scary good in 2022-23.
However, if he continues to struggle offensively, mentally and in terms of his health, it could do lasting damage to Simmons’ legacy and stature around the league.