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Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard thinks that Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons has taken too much blame following the team's loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. Howard played with Simmons on the Sixers last year, and he isn't happy with the picture that's been painted publicly since that loss. He compared the situation to his own experience in Orlando. 

"Well you know, I felt like a part of me, I could see that in being as far as what's happening with Ben, when I was in Orlando it was some similar things happening," Howard said in an interview with Taylor Rooks for Bleacher Report. "Now, I just didn't like the fact that whatever was going on on the inside had to be made public knowledge." 

Howard admitted that he was also frustrated with Simmons' passivity against Atlanta, but doesn't think it's fair to pin the entire loss on one player. 

"Obviously, I'm there with Ben a lot, he's one of my closest friends," Howard added. "So I was upset to hear all the things that was being said about him... Instead of saying it publicly, just address this person behind closed doors, so now it doesn't look so bad. When we played the Hawks and we lost, I was upset at Ben on that play. I wanted him to dunk the ball, tear the rim down. But he didn't do it, and it wasn't just his fault that we lost that series. So my thing was we can't just blame him."

You can see Howard's comments below: 

This isn't the first time that Howard has had Simmons' back, either. After Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce criticized Simmons at a press conference, Howard took to social media to defend his former teammate. 

"Dude, play football and not basketball," Howard wrote. "Instead of getting on TV and talking about this young brother he could send him a message and support him. Positive vibes only. The past is the past." 


Howard is correct in saying that Simmons shouldn't shoulder all of the blame for Philadelphia's playoff loss to Atlanta, but he definitely deserves some of it -- him being a virtual non-factor on the offensive end in the fourth quarter of every game in the series certainly didn't help Philadelphia's cause. 

With that being said, Simmons wasn't the team's only issue, and it's nice to see one of his former teammates have his back amid what has been a consistent avalanche of criticism. Howard likely won't be the last player to comment on the situation given the fact that there doesn't seem to be any end in sight to the ongoing drama between Simmons and the Sixers.