Doc Rivers, Joel Embiid raise doubts about their confidence in Ben Simmons after Game 7 loss

Jun 11, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) and guard Ben Simmons (25) react with head coach Doc Rivers (right) after the 76ers defeated the Atlanta Hawks in game three in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Simmons had a chance to redeem himself on Sunday at the end of a series noted for his offensive stagnation.

He did not.

The Philadelphia 76ers point guard posted his fourth single-digit scoring effort of the Eastern Conference semifinals and again not only looked unable to shoot the ball, but unwilling. His five-point, 13-assist, eight-rebound effort arrived as the Atlanta Hawks completed a stunning upset in seven games to topple the top-seeded 76ers and advance to the conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks.

While Simmons’ box score met the usual criteria cited by advocates who point to his defense, playmaking and rebounding as more than enough to overcome his shooting woes, the fact remains. Simmons is an All-Star guard who often can’t and frequently won’t shoot from the perimeter — and sometimes elsewhere.

Doc Rivers doesn’t know if Ben Simmons can lead a championship team

With another disappointing early playoff ouster, the facade around Simmons in Philadelphia appears to be cracking. The top two voices in the 76ers’ locker room both addressed Simmons after Sunday’s Game 7 loss. Their words fell well short of an endorsement.