Brown will put ball in Sim­mons’ hands

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT -


NEW Boomers coach Brett Brown says he will au­to­mat­i­cally give Ben Sim­mons the ball if the NBA star de­cides to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Brown says he is happy for the Philadel­phia 76ers’ mar­quee man and those clos­est to the Mel­bur­nian to de­cide the best course, fit­ness per­mit­ting, to­wards the Olympics.

“Ben has yet to make a state­ment in re­gards to his

Boomers said.

“I be­lieve that will be com­ing; I will leave that all to him.

“In the event that it plays out like we hope it will, I think it’s a nat­u­ral pair­ing.

“He has been my point guard for the past few years … I will give him the ball again.”

Brown praised out­go­ing Boomers coach Andrej Le­ma­nis’s pro­gram and suc­cess in the in­ter­na­tional arena, de­spite him not be­ing able to get the team over the “hump” and medal at Olympic or pro­gram,”


World Cup level. The 76ers head coach said he felt a “duty” and “re­spon­si­bil­ity” to take up the “hon­orary” Boomers job, as part of a po­ten­tial 2020 Olympics hi­tand-run medal mis­sion.

“My sole mis­sion right now is to coach the Philadel­phia 76ers and stay con­nected to the (Aus­tralian) play­ers,” Brown said.

“Re­con­nect­ing with some of the guys … is most on my mind.

“I have not thought one sec­ond what goes for on af­ter Tokyo.” Le­ma­nis’s strained re­la­tion­ship with Sim­mons re­port­edly prompted him to seek “fresh” change in Brown.

He knew there was no guar­an­tee Sim­mons would play un­der him for Aus­tralia.

It’s a ma­jor rea­son why he reached out to Brown, who has a strong con­nec­tion with Sim­mons and his fam­ily as the All-Star guard’s coach at the 76ers since 2016.

Le­ma­nis’s re­la­tion­ship with Sim­mons and his camp was never per­fect and for­ever a work in progress. “I came to the con­clu­sion that in or­der for the team to have that op­por­tu­nity (to medal) we needed a fresh in­jec­tion, fresh en­ergy … some­one to help us get over that hump,” Le­ma­nis said.

Brown will put the pol­ish on the Boomers in an un­apolo­getic bid for gold, mind­ful of the next Olympics be­ing the in­ter­na­tional swan song for the likes of stal­warts An­drew Bogut, Patty Mills, Joe In­gles and Matthew Dellave­dova.

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