The City of Brotherly Love might not be the best nickname for Philadelphia.
After the 76ers’ Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the NBA playoffs, their fans started to hurl trash onto the court while booing harmoniously. They also groaned when Ben Simmons was on the free-throw line.
76ers guard Danny Green wishes they would react differently.
“It has an affect on everybody and I think that’s something that needs to change in the city. I love our fans, but when things aren’t going well, they can turn on you,” Green said on the “Takeoff with John Clark” podcast. “That’s the one thing that I would disagree with or dislike, but some guys use it as motivation, some guys have a chip on their shoulder, but I think that needs to change somewhat.
“They need to be riding with us regardless of how things are going. We were the No. 1 team in the East, still playing well, and in some games they’ll boo us, but that’s part of the culture year.”
After ending the regular season 49-23 record, many Sixers players struggled in the postseason, and Green was one of them. He saw his points per game decrease from 9.5 to 7, and his 3-point percentage go from 40.5% to 37.8%.
Simmons’ struggles have been well-documented. He shot just 34.2% from the free-throw line in 12 games this postseason, the lowest playoff free-throw percentage in NBA history for a player with 70 attempts. He is one of the main players Green thinks deserves more love from the fans.
“That’s part of their way of showing they love us, but when a guy like Ben and other guys, I think they need to stick by him, as long as they can, until the horn blows,” Green said. “Even then, he’s here. He’s given so much to this organization to the city, on and off the court, that he deserves that respect and that support. I hope that worm turns for him and for the city of Philly to where they don’t have that mantra as fans of being cold, rough and one of the worst in the league.”
After the 76ers were eliminated, Simmons’ agent and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul met with members of Philadelphia’s front office at the NBA combine to discuss Simmons’ future with the team. However, Green thinks he will ultimately stay in Philly. The Sixers even declined an informal offer from the Pacers that would have sent Simmons to Indiana.
“I think so. I don’t see Doc (Rivers) or Daryl Morey as guys to give up on a guy like that,” Green said. “He’s very young and have a lot of potential, because of one series or because of one incident, and just given up on him…There’s a lot of newbies in this, and I think they feel that they can adapt and adjust and also change and grow and help them understand a championship atmosphere.”