NBA legend Isiah Thomas thinks Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons should not take a day off to rest during NBA Summer League play.
On Wednesday, the 76ers played their first playoff game in the 2016 NBA Las Vegas Summer League, defeating the Development League Select Team, 108-71. Simmons sat out because of a scheduled rest day, but Thomas didn’t appreciate the rookie taking a day off.
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“You’re 19. Earn your money, get out on the floor, perform and play,” Thomas said during the game.
Thomas insisted that Simmons should play, saying that fans came to watch him. Simmons missed one summer league game during the Utah Summer League because of cramps in his calves.
Thomas isn’t totally off base. Simmons is young, and between the Utah and Las Vegas Summer Leagues, he’s only played in five games. He missed that one game because of cramps, so it should be important for him to get game time whenever possible. As a rookie, Simmons needs every bit of game experience he can get.
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On the flip side, Simmons did have a scheduled day off, which means the coaching staff decided to rest him. Maybe they felt Simmons could use a break. Plus, the Sixers were playing the D-League Select team—and the coaching staff might have thought it unnecessary for Simmons to play.
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Simmons getting a day off from the summer league could seem questionable. Why is a young player sitting out a game that could help him grow as a player? But sitting out can also be beneficial, helping Simmons stay fresh for the rest of the playoffs.