Ben Simmons keen to represent Australia at Fiba World Cup, says coach | Inquirer Sports

Ben Simmons keen to represent Australia at Fiba World Cup, says coach

/ 12:39 PM May 06, 2023

Ben Simmons NBA

FILE PHOTO: Mar 1, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets injured guard Ben Simmons (10) watches from the bench during the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

MELBOURNE – Three-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons is getting his health back and is a “strong chance” to represent Australia at the World Cup, coach Brian Goorjian said.

The Brooklyn Nets forward has battled back and knee problems since joining the NBA side in 2021/22, and cut his season short to recuperate.

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Simmons has repeatedly pulled out of playing major tournaments for Australia, including the Boomers’ bronze medal-winning Olympics in Tokyo.

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However, Goorjian said Simmons now wanted to be in the national setup for the August-September World Cup in Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.

“It just didn’t work (in the past), but now he is in a situation where he is getting his health back to be ready to play,” Goorjian told Australian radio SEN.

“As we sit now, I think there is a really strong chance (for the World Cup).”

The NBA’s top draft pick in 2016, Melbourne-born Simmons impressed in his first years with the Philadelphia 76ers but his currency dropped during a difficult 2020/21 playoffs campaign when he struggled from the free-throw line.

Under fire for his drop-off in form, Simmons’s decision to pull out of Tokyo weeks before the Games further disappointed Australian fans.

Goorjian, however, has no hard feelings over the 26-year-old’s past reluctance to play for the country and said he wanted him in his team.

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“Our door is always open to him and during my time with the Boomers he has always been straightforward with me,” he said.

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“But that was a very tough situation (in Philadelphia) and he was in the process of change.”

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