Andrej Lemanis, Ben Simmons and Brett Brown.
Andrej Lemanis, Ben Simmons and Brett Brown.

Simmons’ parting shot at Lemanis

AUSTRALIAN NBA star Ben Simmons has, unsurprisingly, thrown his support behind his Philadelphia 76ers mentor Brett Brown taking over as Boomers coach.

Basketball Australia dropped the ball with their handling of Brown's pending announcement as a replacement for Andrej Lemanis as national team boss for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, despite the story breaking days ago.

Simmons was speaking to reporters in the 76ers' locker room following their 109-104 win over the New York Knicks in Philly, declaring he was "excited" for Brown to join the national program.

"I'm looking forward to it, he's coaching me now, I've known him my whole life but I'm excited to put together a great team and a great coaching staff," Simmons said, without mentioning Lemanis or assistant coaches like Australian great Luc Longley.

Ben Simmons scores his first career NBA three-pointer against New York. Picture: Getty
Ben Simmons scores his first career NBA three-pointer against New York. Picture: Getty

Brown has coached the Boomers previously and his return is set to pave the way for Simmons and his Sixers teammate Jonah Bolden to rejoin the national program, after both players made themselves unavailable for the World Cup.

Simmons, predictably, set social media alight when, at the 8.20 mark of the first quarter in the Knicks game, he drained a corner three.

Cleveland’s Matthew Dellavedova and Philly’s Ben Simmons will team up again at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Boomers’ back court. Picture: AP Photo
Cleveland’s Matthew Dellavedova and Philly’s Ben Simmons will team up again at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Boomers’ back court. Picture: AP Photo

"You saw my reaction," Simmons said. "It feels good, you keep working at something and it pays off. I think I'm just growing as a player."

BA officials had planned to unveil Brown via a video link up next week but their plans were foiled when respected ESPN NBA journalist Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Philadelphia mentor was finalising an agreement to return as Australian coach.

Bizarrely, Basketball Australia had also organised outgoing coach Andrej Lemanis to attend the press conference with Brown.

There are plenty of fingers being pointed over the way Basketball Australia handled the appointment of coach Brett Brown. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Slocum
There are plenty of fingers being pointed over the way Basketball Australia handled the appointment of coach Brett Brown. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Lemanis instigated his own departure largely due to his relationship breakdown with superstar Ben Simmons, which prompted him to reach out to Brown, Simmons' coach at the 76ers.

As soon as Woj broke the Brown news on Wednesday morning, BA should have come out and confirmed the news.

Instead the public has to wait days for an awkward press conference with the former Boomers coach and the man who has replaced him.

News Corp Australia


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