Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas has some opinions on the No. 1 overall pick from the 2016 NBA Draft. When it was decided Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons wasn't going to play in the Sixers' fourth Las Vegas Summer League contest Wednesday, Thomas was on air for NBA TV and didn't like the decision to rest the 19-year old.
Thomas questioned whether or not Simmons needed rest during summer league and said the Australian forward should be looking to earn his money out there, since they only play in about eight summer league games.
Simmons played in two of the Sixers' three games in the Utah Summer League, and had played in all three of the games in Vegas prior to his rest on Wednesday. The game he missed in Utah was due to the cramps he had in both calves on the second game in two days. It's also pretty common practice for teams to showcase their young guys in these games but not require them to play in every single one throughout the week and a half they're there. Kris Dunn of the Minnesota Timberwolves only played in two of the four games through Wednesday.
The reason behind a lot of this is to see what they can do, use some of the hype surrounding their performances as a marketing tool, and not risk injury by having them play in ultimately meaningless games for their careers. It also gives other guys on the summer rosters a chance to see what they can do as they try to secure D-League jobs, overseas jobs, and training camp invites with NBA teams.
Thomas comes from a much more old school mentality in which you played and competed in everything no matter what. Between the extended responsibilities and availability required off the court while teams and agents want to protect the player more on the court, it's just going to be the reality that a lot of these guys take a day or two off during the summer league action.