Since being eliminated from the playoffs, the Sixers have been a common topic of conversation among the basketball community. These talks mostly revolve around Ben Simmons, who struggled mightily against the Atlanta Hawks.
While most have talked about Simmons in a more negative light, two former Sixers came to his aid. Recently, TJ McConnell was a guest on JJ Redick's The Old Man and the Three podcast, and they both gave their thoughts on Simmons.
Having played alongside him for multiple seasons, they had an up-close view of what kind of player Simmons is. McConnell acknowledges Simmons' shortcomings but still thinks people need to appreciate what he can do on the floor.
"After having a front-row seat watching Ben, he defies gravity. This guy is incredible, the way he is able to see the floor. Out in transition, in my personal opinion, he is one of the hardest guys to stop in the entire league. I personally think it's unfair what's happening to him," said McConnell.
When Redick signed with the Sixers, his fit on the team was seamless. His style of play is tailor-made to thrive off of players like Simmons and Joel Embiid.
The shots Simmons creates for others in something commonly brought up when dissecting his game, and Redick was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Simmons' elite-level playmaking. Redick was not shy to praise Simmons for his ability to create for those around him.
"Ben creates shots. He just does it for other people. He is a creator, just not in the traditional sense," said Redick.
After all the backlash Simmons has received, it was good to see players shine a positive light on him. While there are some holes to his game, Simmons is still an extremely talented player on both ends of the floor.
Everyone is going to have their own opinions, but the view from two guys who played alongside Simmons should hold weight. They spent multiple years in a locker room with him and witnessed firsthand how special a player he can be.
Credit to Redick and McConnell for acknowledging Simmons is not a perfect player, but reminding everyone he is still one of the bright young talents in the NBA.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.