In Philadelphia, the hatred for Ben Simmons will apparently never die. It keeps getting renewed by this pundit or that fan of City of Brotherly Love. Never seen anything like it.
But it’s not just the local media or the person with the worst seats at Wells Fargo Center whose comments caused a bit of a stir this week. In a general remark during an interview on Take Off with John Clark, Daryl Morey talks about how he now knows he has to consider whether a player can handle Philadelphia’s sports scene. Depending on where you sit along the I-95 corridor, the “scene” is 1) intense, and sometimes highly personal or 2) intense and sometimes highly personal… at the peak !!
as Liberty BowlersOur SB Nation sister site in Philly, put it:
Daryl says he was surprised that players needed a special mindset to play in Philadelphia, and that he needed to know how to identify those players as part of his talent assessment. Here is the clip as well as the transcription of that part of the conversation…
“I would say the biggest surprise is the players who can’t play here”
“I really pay attention to the mindset of the players. Can they handle playing in Philadelphia? Because I think that’s a different thing.”
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 15, 2022
Here’s the full quote, also from H/T to Liberty Bowlers:
“I would say the biggest surprise is the players who can’t play here. It’s not really helpful to me. The more options I have, the better. But I feel like I’m starting to learn and I’ll have to It’s like about Philadelphia, ‘Cause I think it gets the best out of our team. And I’ve seen it not only with our team, the Eagles, and Phillies,
And I never understood it, being in Houston when people would say, ‘Oh, you need a special mindset to play in Philly. You need to have a special mindset to play in New York. Although I think this is less true. To be honest, I can only speak to Philadelphia because I just moved here. I think, I really pay attention to the mindset of the players. Can they handle playing in Philadelphia? Because I think it’s a different thing.”
There isn’t someone living within 50 miles of the Billy Penn statue above Philadelphia City Hall who doesn’t believe Morey was talking about Ben Simmons. Sorry for the double negative. To be clear, Everyone believes the Philly GM was talking about a player who was out last season, citing mental health issues (what Morey said after the trade He believed that were real.)
The holdout followed ugly fan and media backlash to Simmons’ performance in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 2021, when he passed an easy dunk. It was believed that he did not want to take the shot as he was afraid to shoot free throws.
More discussed Simmons’ “sensibility” on another occasion. This is from the same interview where Morey spoke about Simmons’ mental health issues, also after the trade that sent Simmons to Brooklyn and James Harden to Philadelphia.
“I think knowing how sensitive he was to public comments that was appropriate for us, just organizationally, more careful on that. I think it’s important that you take a closer look at your top players and their different locations.” Know where you need to pay attention.”
This week’s comment comes a few weeks later sixes And Simmons settled his dispute over whether Philly owed his player any part of the $19 million fine he assessed for his holdout. Terms of settlement were not issued.
The Nets travel to Philadelphia to face the Sixers at Wells Fargo Center on November 22, the first time for Simmons to play against his former teammates. This would be his second return as the Nets sat on the bench and watched the Nets blow up the Sixers of 129-100 on March 10.