Welcome everybody. It’s Philadelphia 76ers Media Day, 2021.
The BIG STORY on Action News is Ben Simmons, who is not here in Camden. We will make sure to ask “the hard questions” and get all the answers you need as we kick off what should be a barn burner of a basketball season.
This will be a running thread of all things notable this Monday. We’ll start it off with Daryl Morey and Doc Rivers, who came to the podium first, at 11 a.m. –
- Doc is looking forward to the season. He says last year was a positive with new coaches and new players coming together to win. He wants to take the next step this year.
- RE: Doc’s comments about not knowing if Ben Simmons can be a championship point guard, Rivers pushed back on the quote. “I’m in charge here,” Rivers told Howard Eskin, while explaining that his quote was taken out of context, with the wrong intent.
- Rivers doesn’t believe that Simmons has any issue with the comments made after the Hawks’ playoff series loss.
- Morey was asked about Ben’s trade value and said that “They (Klutch) came to us and asked for a trade. We were not looking to trade him.”
- When asked for the specifics of what Ben’s issue is, Rivers said it “wasn’t as clear as we probably would want it… he wanted to change places for whatever reason… it’s tough to play here, Ben didn’t say that but you would assume it has to be part of it.”
- Morey says there’s “a lot of hope” that they can bring Ben Simmons back. “There’s a lot of optimism we can make it work here.“
- RE: vaccination, Rivers didn’t want to give out a percentage of vaccinated players.
- Rivers didn’t want to speak for Joel Embiid and Danny Green regarding the comments they made about the fans this somewhere. He went on a lengthy explanation saying that expectations are high in Philadelphia, where the fan base is passionate.
- Morey says he last met with Ben 6-7 weeks ago but there’s been “more communication with his representation… we expect him back and expect him to be a 76er.“
- Rivers says Tyrese Maxey will have a big role with or without Ben Simmons.
- Morey wouldn’t go into specifics about fining Simmons for being a no-show, but said “It’s very clearly spelled out in the CBA and his contract what happens.”
- Doc thinks Georges Niang will be a “big” signing for them. Helps stretch the floor and can play small ball with better efficiency.
- They watched the fourth quarter of Game 7 against the Hawks as a team.
- Rivers and Morey were asked straight up about Ben Simmons being “soft,” and Doc pretty much blew it off. Focused on Simmons and improving his free throws. He’s been consistent on that front.
Doc Rivers and Howard Eskin going at it early! pic.twitter.com/15szrjnqA9
— Everythings Phine (@evrythingsphine) September 27, 2021
- He says the Sixers want Ben Simmons back. Big piece of what they’ve been doing. “The way I look at it is that we all have to be better. Tried to figure out ways I can be better, so we can win something, but I think you have to have some self awareness. I could have done much better than I did. Turned it over, missed a few shots. Tobias could have been better. You just have to look at yourself and find ways to get better.”
- They did try to go out to LA to talk to Ben, so that Shams report was true. When asked what he would say to Ben Simmons in that meeting, he said he would tell Ben he’s “disappointed… obviously we haven’t won anything.. going by what’s been said throughout the media, I would look at it in a way that, look at what we’re able to do (as a team on the court).”
- Embiid wanted to make sure his “disappointed” quote isn’t taken out of context. He’s not “disappointed” in Ben Simmons per se, just “disappointed” in the entirety of the situation because he feels like they can accomplish more on the court.
- He doubled down on his postgame quote, saying he thought Ben’s passed up dunk was indeed a turning point in the Hawks series. He thinks he just stated the facts.
- He thinks everybody needs to handle trade rumors better: “If Golden State came and offered Steph and Klay for me, wouldn’t the Sixers say yes to that? I would probably say yes to that (if I was the Sixers).
- Embiid gave a thoughtful answer to our question about the fans, and clarifying the statements about them needing to “be better.” He said fans have the right to feel any way they want to feel, but didn’t want it to go too far to a point where free agents didn’t want to play here.
- On Ben Simmons: “Personally, I like Ben a lot. I love playing with him on the court… I would like to play with him, he’s still part of us, he’s still Sixers.”
- Going into free agency, he felt like he made the right decision coming back.
- Ben Simmons thing is just part of the game. Gotta deal with it.
- Feels like three-point shooting and defense are his biggest issues to improve this year.
- He wants to get to a point where he’s on the floor during the game’s biggest moments. That’s an individual goal.
- His offseason emphasis was to work on his body and increase efficiency in the low post area. He wanted to add an outside component and shoot threes off the bounce, contested three pointers as well. “That was the huge emphasis of the summer, main focus for me.“
- He shares Joel Embiid’s “disappointment” in the Ben Simmons situation, noting that losing your point guard makes the situation even more difficult.
- Harris thinks some things have been “miscommunicated” when talking about Ben. If he knew things would get out of hand, he would have had “the whole team pull up to Ben’s house” to talk about it. He says the entire team took ownership of the Hawks’ series loss. “It was not one guy who made mistakes.”
- RE: Philly fans, Harris says it’s “a passionate fan base and there’s just a lot of fans.” It adds to the highs and lows of winning and losing. “It can be a bad thing when you lose and great thing when you win.” He 100% thinks that affects Ben Simmons.
“It’s unfortunate, but clicks sell, drama sells… this is fuel to the fire, Ben is a very popular player, so what’s gonna get people to watch a TV screen is more and more chatter… this is one of the things I relayed to him. It is what it is.”
— Adam Aaronson (@SixersAdam) September 27, 2021
- Not much to say about the Ben Simmons situations. He loves playing with Ben but he’s minding his own business.
- No beef with Joel Embiid. All water under the bridge. Guys battling on the court and teammates now.
- He’s new here, so he doesn’t think his opinion on Ben Simmons matters very much.
- He thinks he has a lot to offer. Doesn’t have anything to prove. He’s 28 years old and thinks there’s plenty to give.
- Team has a “chance to be great.”
- On Ben Simmons: all of the players have reached out, trying to figure out what they can do in the day-to-day.
- RE: his comments about the fans, he said he was mostly talking about booing during the regular season that caught him by surprise. Said fans are passionate but he’s always going to stand up for teammates.
- Watched a lot of film this offseason, prepared his mind.
- He’s been working out with Ben Simmons in LA (w/ trainer Chris Johnson). He says they’ve been good friends for a few years now.
- RE: the report that Klutch wanted him out of Philadelphia, he says it was false. “I don’t know where that came from.“
- Danny Green is “54 years old” and played 30+ years in the league, he joked.
— Crossing Broad (@CrossingBroad) September 27, 2021
Also, we’re keeping an eye out for those legions of Sixers fans that were reportedly going to descend on Camden to boo Ben Simmons:
Keeping an eye out for "organized groups" of Sixers fans: pic.twitter.com/uQ0l8XL1Gw
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) September 27, 2021
(this is a joke… we’re having fun here)