Ben Simmons is recovering from back surgery, and he’s also coming down with a touch of schadenfreude.
The Nets star liked a tweet from Skip Bayless on Thursday night, in which the “Undisputed” host excoriated Philadelphia 76ers scorer James Harden for his poor performance in an elimination game against the Miami Heat.
“James Harden typically no-showed in the second half of this closeout game,” Bayless wrote. “Now he’s mostly just another Jim Harden. Ben Simmons will eventually make this trade look so phoolish for Philly. ”
Harden – who forced his way out of Brooklyn in a multi-player deal that sent Simmons to the Nets – shot just 4 of 9 from the field in the Game 6 loss, and didn’t score on either of his second half shots. It was the latest poor performance from the high-scoring superstar, who was supposed to be the anti-Simmons and help the Sixers win a title.
Simmons ‘shooting hesitancy – particularly in last season’s playoffs – was the beginning of his Philly downfall, leading to an offseason filled with media criticism after Joel Embiid and Doc Rivers knocked the point guard following the 76ers’ elimination against the Hawks a year ago. The Australian star – known more for his defense and playmaking abilities – did not suit up during the 2021-22 season, citing mental health and back issues.
The 25-year-old did attempt to play in Game 4 of the Nets’ first-round sweep at the hands of the Celtics, but instead opted surgery to repair a herniated L-4 disc. Nets brass hopes he’ll be a steady contributor next season.
“Regarding Ben post-surgery, I don’t want to speak for him but I can sense there’s a relief, Brooklyn GM Sean Marks said earlier this month. “There’s a new lease on life, when you’re able to take a problem and say it should be fixed and move that out of here and now it’s on to the rest.”