Sixers All-Star point guard Ben Simmons has elected to not compete in the Tokyo Olympics with the Australian team this summer, his agent Rich Paul told ESPN. Instead, Simmons will take the summer to focus on "individual development" and Team Australia was understanding of the decision, Paul told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Simmons and the 76ers are coming off a disappointing second-round exit against the Hawks in a tight seven-game series. Philadelphia was the eastern conference's No. 1 seed but fell short of its expectations.
The series also shed a spotlight on Simmons's wide array of weaknesses. Although a standout defender, Simmons shot a putrid 34% from the free throw line in the playoffs and rarely attempted a shot.
Simmons averaged 9.9 points per game during the series against the Hawks and disappeared offensively in crunch time. He attempted only 14 shots in the final three games of the series and had just three fourth-quarter field goal attempts in the entire series.
Despite his All-Star appearance and All-Defensive First Team selection, Simmons's agent had to meet with 76ers management to discuss his future with the team. Simmons didn't request a trade, though, and the team is committed to him.
Simmons will likely take the offseason to focus on his shooting at the charity stripe and across the floor. If the 24-year-old can add a respectable jumper to his game, the whole NBA will be put on notice.
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