Ben Simmons, who teased a run with Australia at the FIBA World Cup, has become "doubtful" to play in the upcoming tournament, per a report by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The move will clear Simmons to prep fully for his upcoming season with the Philadelphia 76ers, who are expected to be a leading contender in the East. Their run to the conference semifinals last season ended in a Game 7 defeat on Kawhi Leonard's four-bounce buzzer-beater, and Jimmy Butler was ultimately swapped for Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade that cleared space for the acquisition of erstwhile rival Al Horford.
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
In 2018-19, Simmons averaged 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists as a 6-foot-10 point guard, earning his first All-Star appearance after a Kia Rookie of the Year-winning campaign. Yet his lacking outside shot -- 0-for-17 from 3-point range across two seasons -- limited his playmaking ability during the playoffs, and improving there provides the obvious lane for an even more significant leap heading into Year Three.