Ben Simmons has been accused of not possessing the ‘heart’ to be one of NBA’s greats

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Ben Simmons is brilliant, but question marks are starting to surface about his willingness to work hard on his flawed shooting stroke.

Ben Simmons has the talent to become LeBron James 2.0, but he doesn’t possess the “heart” to be great, as his messy trade standoff with the Philadelphia 76ers continues.

That’s the opinion of outspoken ESPN commentator Stephen A Smith, who has taken aim at Simmons for his ugly departure from the 76ers.

The Australian superstar insists he won’t report to Philadelphia training camp and intends to never play another game for the franchise despite having four seasons left on his contract.

He is clearly aware of sanctions available to the organisation to fine and suspend him, including US$308,000 a day for missing training camp, and withholding of his salary.

So far, however, Simmons appears willing to carry out a plan of forcing his way to a new team while the Sixers have yet to find a trade they’re willing to make for him.

The Melbourne-born guard is disappointed with Philadelphia for repeatedly attempting to trade him and for shining the light on his poor shooting form.

According to Smith, though, Simmons needs to showcase more resilience if he wants to take his promising career to even greater heights.

“It ain’t about skill, it is about heart and there is a heart examination that is required now,” Smith fired.

“Because this brother is LeBron James part two if he developed any kind of jump shot or free-throw shot.

“If Ben developed a free-throw shot, not even a jump shot, he would average 25 points a game.

“He is that gifted, he is that special of a talent. The problem is he is scared to shoot.

“And the 76ers and the 76ers fan base is to blame? And you don’t want to come back because you can’t deal with them?

“That is a heart examination right there, ladies and gentlemen.”

The deterioration of Simmons’ relationship with Philadelphia doesn’t surprise Smith.

In fact, like many others, he prophesied Ben’s broken tenure at the 76ers.

“I think we all knew that Simmons’ days at Philadelphia were numbered last year as the playoffs played out,” he said.

“I reported a month ago that he was going to do this – refuse to report to training camp and now we’re here and it is official.

“Ben Simmons isn’t going to play for the 76ers again, so says he, and he will probably get his way, too.

“But good luck to the team that he lands with, because at this particular moment in time, we can only say that you’ll be getting a good player, but not one willing to do what is required to be great.”

The Houston Rockets are reportedly “very interested” in securing Simmons in a trade with disgruntled guard John Wall, who has been training alongside Ben in California.

Wall has requested a trade from the Rockets but with the All-Star guard racking in more than US$44m a season, the 76ers would need to add another quality piece in any trade swap.

Until then, Simmons’ NBA career remains in limbo as he sits on the sidelines until Philadelphia can find a suitable trade.

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