July 15, 2016
This week in "old man yells at cloud"...
Hall of Fame guard Isiah Thomas thinks that rookie Ben Simmons not playing in three of the Sixers' eight Summer League games — one because of cramps, two for rest — means he's not "earning his money."
Here's the quote, via FoxSports:
"You know, you've got people coming into the building, they wanna watch him play. He's a rookie. And taking selfies, and signing autographs — I mean, you're 19. Earn your money, get out on the floor, perform and play," Thomas said.
"Don't start developing bad habits right now. You've played maybe, what, eight games in the summer? How can you take a day off for rest?"
Yeah, a few things with that:
• As CSNPhilly pointed out, "sitting Simmons is more than likely the Sixers' decision."
• I'll let Kurt Helin of NBCSports expound on why Summer League doesn't matter:
I don’t think we can say this enough: It’s Summer League. It doesn’t matter. I get the old school “I always compete” mentality, but this is not when Ben Simmons earns his money — he earns it when the games start in October. The real games. The ones count for something. That’s when he needs to always compete. What matters in Las Vegas is he got in a little run with better competition than he saw at LSU, the coaches got to evaluate him in that setting, learn some things, work with him on others.
• You're going to criticize him because "fans came to see him," then needle him for taking selfies with fans and signing autographs in the same breath? Those kids were probably more psyched to get an Instagram photo with Simmons than they would be actually seeing him play in a game that counts for nada.
You have to give Thomas a bit of a break, though. It's mid-July, which means the free-agency period is essentially over, and so all there is right now is meaningless Summer League hoops. So an unwarranted hot take may have been his way of trying to shake things up during what's otherwise a tryout for the D League or the end of the bench without the handful of potential stars.