Ben Simmons might not play for Australia in the FIBA World Cup this summer.
The 76ers star is focusing on preparing for the 2019-20 season with Philadelphia instead, his agent Rich Paul told ESPN on Saturday.
Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is “doubtful” to play for Australia in the FIBA World Cup this summer, his agent Rich Paul tells ESPN. Simmons is more likely now to spend his full offseason preparing only for the Sixers season — free of national team responsibilities.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 13, 2019
Simmons, 22, said he would travel to China to participate in this year’s tournament back in May, but it appears like he’s reneged on that promise.
The 76ers selected Simmons with the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and he’s played a large role in the team’s resurgence as an oversized, do-it-all playmaker.
Philadelphia put together one of the most talented starting lineups in basketball last season, featuring Simmons, Joel Embiid, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. But its 51-31 record ranked third in the Eastern Conference.
The 76ers lost Butler and Redick this summer, but acquired Josh Richardson and Al Horford, giving them tremendous defensive potential. It’s clear they are focused on winning now, and Kawhi Leonard joining the Clippers gives them a better chance of doing that this year, as they fell the Raptors in seven games in the postseason.