Ben Simmons is set to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics – dealing Australia’s medal hopes a devastating blow
Australian basketball superstar Ben Simmons is unlikely to play in the Tokyo Olympics.
It comes after the 24-year-old saw his NBA season finish in disappointing fashion, with the Philadelphia 76ers beaten by Atlanta in their Eastern Conference semi-final series.
The point guard also didn’t feature in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil or the 2019 Basketball World Cup.
Simmons’ expected absence in Japan is a significant blow to the medal chances of the Boomers.
Australian basketball superstar Ben Simmons (pictured right) is unlikely to play in the Tokyo Olympics as he weighs up his NBA future
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst tweeted Simmons has chosen to focus on ‘working on skill development in his NBA off-season rather than represent his country in Japan.
Free-throw shooting is a key area that Simmons needs to improve in his game.
Simmons is contracted with Philadelphia to the end of the 2024-25 NBA season, but may consider options elsewhere after the 76ers were bundled out of the finals.
He won’t be short of suitors, with San Antonio, Portland, Washington, Houston and Toronto all said to be watching on with interest.
A fresh start in the NBA could be the tonic Simmons needs to re-launch his flagging career.
He has been widely criticised for his ineptitude at the foul line and his fear of driving to the rim in the 76ers Eastern Conference semi-finals loss to Atlanta.
His poor free-throw shooting proved fatal for the Sixers, who were expected to easily beat the Hawks.
Simmons shot a woeful 25-for-73 (3 per cent) from the line in the playoffs and missed 27 alone against Atlanta.
Sixers coach Doc Rivers is confident Simmons can rectify the deficiencies in his game.
‘There’s work (to be done). And Ben will be willing to do it,’ he said. ‘Sometimes you have to go through stuff to see it.’