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Ben Simmons opts out of Olympics to work on shooting

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Ben Simmons won't play for Australia in the Tokyo Olympics this summer. 

The Philadelphia 76ers guard informed Basketball Australia of his decision on Monday. Head coach Brian Goorjian confirmed Simmons' withdrawal in a statement:

“I have spoken with Ben, and whilst we wanted him to be a part of our team, we understand and support his decision and he has made it clear that this is something that he wants to be a part of in the future.”

The decision was expected following the 76ers' second-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The shooting woes that have plagued Simmons throughout his career were intensified in the upset loss as he became an offensive liability in the Eastern Conference semifinals. 

Simmons took heat for 76ers' early playoff exit

Head coach Doc Rivers removed Simmons in some late game situations because of his poor shooting at the free throw line. Simmons also hesitated to shoot from the field even when open as he posted four single-digit scoring efforts in the seven-game series. 

Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers warms up prior to game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on June 11, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons is opting out of the Olympics to work on fixing his game. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The day after the Game 7 loss, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that Simmons was doubtful for the Olympics and planned to spend the offseason "working on skill development." 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said the same day that he was "very bullish" on Simmons and had a plan to work with him this summer to work on "areas that he can fix."

Simmons' agent Rich Paul confirmed with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday that Simmons decided to withdraw "to concentrate his summer on individual development."

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