Ben Simmons’ lasting image this year is that he Philadelphia 76ers Game 7 loss to Atlanta Hawks in the 2021 playoffs.
It was so memorable (in a bad way) that it became a viral meme. Doc Rivers said he wasn’t sure Simmons would be a championship-level point guard. I sat there until I was traded.
Unfortunately for Simmons, his brooklyn nets Career did not go so well. After being traded to the Nets, Simmons didn’t play a single game that season. It was thought that he might be a good fit for the Celtics, but Simmons never took the court.
The Nets were reportedly unhappy with this development and met with Simmons agent Rich Paul to discuss how to get Simmons back on the court.
Simmons was apparently headed for another messy divorce before going to court. Then, during the offseason, news broke that Kevin Durant was asking to be traded out of Brooklyn after falling out with Steve Nash and general manager.
Phoenix and Miami are among two teams Kevin Durant has on his wishlist, sources told ESPN, but the Nets will move Durant to where he gets the best possible deal. That’s the plan. His contract is for four years, so there’s no shortage of teams willing to unload assets for Durant.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2022
After the Nets were unable to find a worthy contract for a future Hall of Famer and Steve Nash was fired, things seem to be calming down for the time being.
The Nets were slowly getting into action, much of it to do with interim head coach Jack Vaughan. Ultimately, all seemed to be going in the direction of the Nets, but in a 102-101 win against the Heat, Jimmy his butler inadvertently fell backwards into Durant’s lap. Adrian Wojnarowski says the injury may not be as bad as it looks. The best case is Durant missing his two weeks. Worst case is more than a month.
There is some optimism that Durant will be sidelined for less time than he was out for six weeks last season. There was a huge sigh of relief around the Nets and their MVP candidate. https://t.co/MrfAPtU90W
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 9, 2023
The Nets went 5-16 without a superstar forward last year, including an 11-game losing streak. With Durant out for at least a few weeks, this opens the door for someone other than Kyrie Irving to step up, and that player has to be Ben Simmons.
Ben Simmons’ play in Durant’s absence would go a long way toward repairing Durant’s reputation.
Even with Simmons’ contribution to the Nets’ recent success in a positive way, questions still remain about his game in the long run. Of course, there are some things that can only be answered in the playoffs. Stepping up his game could make a big difference.
Simmons will never be the type of player to hand over game scoring. So far this season, he had his 7.7 points per game average, his career-lowest. A lot of that is due to playing with his two of the greatest offensive players of all time, but some of it is due to Simmons still recovering from his past injuries.
Does the Nets need him to start scoring 20 points a game? Of course not, but they need him to build up offense and at least be a threat on offense. Most of all, I need him so my teammates can shoot more easily. Gravity His Irving-Durant draw is usually the Nets’ best offense, making it easier for everyone on the court. Of course, most of that is down to Irving without Durant, but he can’t carry the entire offensive load.
Simmons also has a career-low assists average of 6.0, but without Durant, he will have to regain some of the playmaking skills that made him an All-Star. At its peak, Simmons could control every aspect of the game. He was a dynamic passer, an elite defensive his player who could defend any position, and was strong on the fast break. We’ve seen signs of that this season, but now is the time for him to approach All-Star Ben Simmons if the Nets are to stay near the top of the East.
Games are few these days as he took a step back as Irving and Durant continue to dominate every game, as he did on Nov. 20.
That type of game is what the Nets need until Durant returns to the lineup. Of course, TJ Warren’s striving for a comeback will help ease some of Irving’s offensive burden, but Simmons can change the game on both sides of the court.
The Nets have three days off before their next game on Thursday. Boston vs. TNT. Simmons is still trying to get back into the All-Star era, so this will give him time to implement more plays for Simmons. If Simmons can get his game closer to what it was just a few years ago, it will not only help the Nets long-term once the playoffs begin, but it will go a long way toward repairing Simmons’ reputation in the NBA.