Video: Doc Rivers gets heated with reporter over Ben Simmons question
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers was once again asked multiple questions about Ben Simmons at the team’s media day on Monday, and it didn’t take long before he became visibly frustrated.
After the Sixers were eliminated from the playoffs, Rivers was asked if he believes Simmons can be the point guard on a championship team. He replied, “I don’t even know how to answer that right now.” Many took that to mean Rivers is not confident in Simmons. He reiterated on Monday that his words were twisted by the media and scolded a reporter for interrupting him.
You can watch the exchange below:
Sixers Media Day is off to a jolly start.
Doc Rivers says he doesn’t believe his comments about Ben Simmons not being a championship-caliber point guard is the reason Ben wants a trade. pic.twitter.com/MOMZeqx8ZD
— Chris W. Crouse (@NBACrouse) September 27, 2021
“There’s sometimes called intent when you talk,” Rivers said. “Clearly, what I said was, ‘Guys, I’m not answering that. I don’t know right now.’ We just finished a Game 7 and that question was asked. I just wasn’t talking about it. I wasn’t answering that.
“I still think the world of of (Simmons). I think the world of him as a player. Just because he doesn’t do certain things that you want him to do doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. He made the All-Star team. He almost won the Defensive Player of the Year Award.”
Rivers went on to say that he doesn’t think his comments after the playoffs have anything to do with Simmons wanting a trade. The coach noted that playing in Philadelphia is difficult, though he made it clear Simmons did not say that to him.
This isn’t the first time Rivers has been animated in defending his handling of Simmons.
Rivers certainly did not throw Simmons under the bus the way Joel Embiid did. People were more surprised that the coach had an opportunity to defend a star player who was coming off a poor performance, and he chose not to. That was quite telling, and there have been reports that Simmons even wanted an apology over it.
Whatever the case, Simmons is not backing down from his trade demand.