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NBA star Ben Simmons won’t play for Australia in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics after the Philadelphia 76ers point guard confirmed he will use the offseason ‘to focus on individual skill development’.

According to New York Times basketball reporter Marc Stein, the 24-year-old informed Basketball Australia ‘he requires this upcoming period of time to focus on individual skill development’ after being slammed for his poor form in the NBA playoffs. 

The decision is a crushing blow for Australia’s medal chances at the event as Simmons was set to lead a team heavy in NBA talent. 

NBA star Ben Simmons won't play for Australia in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics - instead choosing to focus on 'skill development' after being slammed for his poor form when his 76ers side lost in the NBA playoffs

NBA star Ben Simmons won't play for Australia in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics - instead choosing to focus on 'skill development' after being slammed for his poor form when his 76ers side lost in the NBA playoffs

NBA star Ben Simmons won’t play for Australia in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics – instead choosing to focus on ‘skill development’ after being slammed for his poor form when his 76ers side lost in the NBA playoffs

The 24-year-old informed Basketball Australia 'he requires this upcoming period of time to focus on individual skill development'

The 24-year-old informed Basketball Australia 'he requires this upcoming period of time to focus on individual skill development'

The 24-year-old informed Basketball Australia ‘he requires this upcoming period of time to focus on individual skill development’

The Boomers confirmed the 76ers star would not be present in Tokyo in a statement on Tuesday morning. 

‘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,’ Head Coach Brian Goorjian said.

‘It is a pretty rough time for him right now and I know it is something that he wanted to do, but the timing just hasn’t worked.

‘The best thing for everybody right now is for him to go on and develop that skill package and improve in a couple of areas for his next season in the NBA, but the Boomers are always here for him. We wanted him to know that in his time of need, the culture and the guys here are behind him and support him’. 

'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,' Head Coach Brian Goorjian said

'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,' Head Coach Brian Goorjian said

‘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,’ Head Coach Brian Goorjian said

San Antonio Spurs point guard and compatriot Patty Mills said he thought the camp would be a good place for Simmons to develop but supported his ‘mate’s’ decision. 

‘As a teammate, as a fan and as a supporter, we all want to see our best players putting on the green and gold and for me in particular, having that thought even to be able to share the court with Benny at some stage in the green and gold, is something I am always going to look forward to and unfortunately now is not going to be the time, and that is ok.’ said Mills.

‘This place right here, and the program we have developed, and how strong our culture is, this is one place for him that is always going to be here with open arms because we are mates. We are team-mates, we are a brotherhood and to be able to represent the green and gold, that is the culture that we have.’

‘The number one fact and characteristic of our group is how we support each other through the good, bad and ugly, whatever it may be, and Ben isn’t an exception to that. No matter what he does, myself and the team will continue to support him because this is a safe place – everyone needs to know and understand that now more than ever, we need to support Ben on his journey.’ 

Source: Daily Mail

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