Former LSU star and likely No. 1 draft pick Ben Simmons will not play for Australia in this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and will instead focus on preparing for June’s NBA Draft, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Chris Broussard.
Agent Rich Paul: Ben Simmons won't play 4 Australia n 2016 Olympics n Rio. Will focus on NBA activities & look 2 play 4 Australia n future.
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) April 8, 2016
This is probably the best decision Simmons could have made ahead of the start of his NBA career. Given how he is the heavy favorite to be the first overall pick in June, better for him to focus on getting in NBA shape rather than worry himself with Olympics practices with team workouts and the NBA Scouting Combine coming up on the horizon. On top of that, suppose Simmons did get picked first in the draft and then went to Rio to represent Australia, what if he suffered a career-ending injury?
That said, Australia can live without Simmons for one Olympics. He is beyond talented, yes, but the NBA must be prioritized here.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports