As Ben Simmons and his Philadelphia 76ers crashed out of the 2021 NBA playoffs, social media was ablaze with the question 'what next for Ben Simmons?'
It was an unceremonious exit for Simmons' Sixers, falling 4-3 in the series to the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
The 24-year-old has been crucified by numerous American media outlets for his less-than-satisfactory performance throughout the series, and his seeming lack of willingness to develop the glaring weaknesses in his game.
In seven games against the Hawks, Simmons averaged 9.9 points, 8.6 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and shot an NBA playoffs all-time low 34% from the free-throw line.
His hesitancy and inability to shoot the ball is an ever-growing issue - Simmons averaged a mere six field goal attempts per game in the series with Atlanta - as there has been seemingly no improvement or discernible commitment to improve his jump shot.
Simmons was a measly 3-of-10 from three-point range throughout the entirety of the regular season - and 0-of-1 in the playoffs. Four seasons into his professional career, the sample size and production aren't anywhere near good enough for a player with such star potential.
Down two points with under four minutes remaining in Game 7, Simmons passed up an uncontested, certain dunk - a moment described by All-NBA teammate, Joel Embiid, as the "turning point" in season-ending loss. The moment encapsulated not only Simmons' concerning lack of confidence on offence, but a low-point of his career to-date.
It drew a torrent of warranted criticism and frustration from 76ers fans and neutrals alike.
All of this begs the question that many have been asking since Philadelphia's elimination - is it time for a change of scenery for Ben Simmons?
As things currently stand, it would appear that a Simmons trade would be mutually-beneficial. Philadelphia is undoubtedly tired of Simmons' offensive indecision and ineptitude, despite his obvious DPOY-calibre skills on the other side of the ball.
Meanwhile, the mounting pressure and criticism from Philadelphians and national analysts alike, must be weighing on Simmons himself, who, at this point, must be searching for an escape.