This past NBA season hasn't been the easiest for Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons. As the three-time All-Star admitted he struggled with his confidence and mentality throughout the year, Simmons didn't quite live up to expectations at times -- especially in the second round of the playoffs.
In what was admittedly a down series for Simmons, the former first pick struggled to help his team prevent a series of upset losses to the scrappy and young Atlanta Hawks. While the Sixers could've closed out the series with a Game 7 victory at home, they instead took on a disappointing loss, getting eliminated from the playoffs much earlier than expected.
Simmons, who struggled offensively throughout the whole series, failed to put up more than five points in the critical Game 7. Before Philly's final game even concluded, Sixers fans were already extremely frustrated with Simmons. Once the Simmons-Joel Embiid duo lost in the second round of the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, the trade rumors immediately started heating up.
Frustrated and drained, Simmons did all he could to try and stay away from the spotlight for a while. Once the season concluded last month, he went silent on social media for a few weeks. Finally, on Monday, Simmons decided to break his silence on Instagram and put out a message for his followers as he celebrated his 25th birthday.
"Reflecting back, I’ve experienced some amazing highs and with that, some of the lowest lows. Life’s a journey.. I’ll always remain relentless and remain human through it all. Here’s to my 25 year #Relentlesspursuit doing what I love on my bday I’m blessed"
Golden State Warriors veteran Draymond Green reached out to Simmons publicly to tell him happy birthday -- but he didn't do it without offering some words of encouragement to the highly-scrutinized Simmons.
“Man stop letting these people get in your head young King,” Green wrote in the comment section. “Enjoy your birthday. Basketball ain’t got nothing to do with it, so don’t let them intertwine life and basketball for you. Enjoy your life and enjoy hoop. You’ve earned both! You don’t owe anybody anything! You have earned everything you have! Happy born day brotha!”
Green is no stranger to scrutiny himself. While the 31-year-old forward has the accolades to prove he's been successful in the NBA, he's still received his fair share of criticism throughout the years, which teaches a valuable lesson to Simmons.
No matter how successful the young All-Star becomes, he's going to have to deal with criticism from the outsiders. In four seasons, Simmons has racked up plenty of accolades, including Rookie of the Year, All-Defensive First-Team nods, several All-Star appearances, and a Defensive Player of the Year nomination. Yet, he still receives scrutiny for his shortcomings.
That's not to say that Simmons doesn't need to improve areas of his game to help his team, but Green's advice should teach the young star to have a better mentality moving forward. While basketball takes up a good portion of Simmons' life, Green encourages him not to let it take over.