It looks like there's no turning back in the rift between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers. Following their shocking elimination to the Atlanta Hawks in the 2020-21 NBA Playoffs, things have only gone from bad to worse between them.

The former first-overall pick hasn't been granted the trade he requested during the offseason and has not played a single minute in the ongoing campaign, claiming he's battling with mental health struggles.

For many people that's just an excuse to continue on the sidelines, as he has also refused to treat those problems with the organization at first. However, Los Angeles Lakers veteran Dwight Howard has empathized with Simmons and everything he's going through.

Lakers' Dwight Howard supports Ben Simmons

The eight-time NBA All-Star relates with what Ben Simmons has been suffering over the last few months. Howard, who has been a teammate of Simmons in Philadelphia, has talked about it to Tyler R. Tynes of GQ in a worth reading interview.

"I know exactly what he’s going through," Howard said. "It’s a learning phase. I don’t think people understand how difficult it is to be an 18 year old kid to come into a world like this. It’s a different reality being in the NBA. Ben is young and being the face of a franchise going through changes. And everything you do will be publicized. All your mistakes, all your failures. When you do something bad, they put that out there more. The whole world sees it and they judge you based off your mistakes. All of us have problems we deal with on the daily. I don’t think people really and truly understand that part and they get offended when players don’t wanna talk or won’t do certain things.

"With Ben, how can you speak on a situation when you don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors? It’s a lot of growth he’s had to go through. It’s very tough to be in the spotlight and deal with some of these things, especially when you feel like you’re alone. People say he isn’t where he needs to be as a player, but I’m proud of his growth. I’m always gonna stick up for him, he was my teammate. At the end of the day, even if we don’t play on the same team, you still my brother."

Sixers' fans haven't treated Simmons fairly, Howard says

Howard has emphasized on the importance of mental health, claiming that it's not something easy to talk about for many people. He added that he understands Simmons' feelings and everything he's been dealing with.

That's why the Lakers big man believes he should have been treated better. "He’s done the best job he can. I don’t think the Philly fans have really treated him fairly throughout this whole situation based off what they heard in the media. They feel like he’s obligated to them. But what if this was your son or daughter or one of your friends dealing with what Ben’s dealing with? How would you handle it? How would you feel?"

All fair points from Howard. However, that will hardly change the fact that everyone at the Sixers is just as disgruntled at Simmons as he is with the organization. After everything that happened, it doesn't look like things will change in this lengthy saga, which could be over once and for all if the Detroit Pistons get a deal done.