As the world waits for the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving drama to unfold, it’s easy to forget that even if the Nets animate both stars as required, they still have one star on their roster.
Ben Simmons is not expected to go anywhere, although it may take time for him to regain his all-star shape. One of his teammates admitted it.
“There are always challenges. Above all, he missed an entire season. It would be a challenge to get his rhythm back into playing basketball,” Seth Curry, Simmons’ team 76er and now the Nets, told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. Specifically what he’s been through, mentally – it’s hard for me to comment on – but taking this year, getting that time, out competing and playing five-to-five basketball would be like tough…just take some time and re-acclimatize to playing basketball High level, but he is a special talent, and he has all the skills. You need the nets on the floor.”
The 6-foot-11 Simmons has played in three All-Stars games and was at his best a game-changing talent on both ends of the floor. For his career, he averaged 15.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 7.7 assists. It’s been a long time since the first overall pick for the 2016 NBA draft was last made, and it dates back to the 2020-21 playoffs. Then he asked for a deal from the 76ers, and he never played with them. After coming to The Nets on the trade deadline for James Harden on February 10, the 26-year-old Simmons wasn’t a good fit for them either.
He underwent a microscopic discectomy at Cedars Hospital-Sinai Marina del Rey in Los Angeles on May 5. A source close to Simmons confirmed to The Post in June that he has begun his rehab phase and is on schedule to be ready for training camp.
“I’ve seen him at the facility a few times,” said Carey. “Like I said, [he’s] He was doing a lot of shooting, working out, working on his body and being in the gym, so, from everything I’ve seen, I hope he’s there ready to go to training camp.”
There’s no telling what our Nets roster configuration will look like when boot camp comes around. It may include Durant and Irving, or it may not. Nets will need Simmons either way.
“He’s clearly an all-star caliber player,” Curry said. “Obviously he is trying to get the most out of this off-season, recovering physical and mental health. Like I said, he had a year off, it would be good for him to get back on the field and adapt again. He makes a lot of three-point shots for his teammates. Obviously getting good shots helps me a lot. Pick-and-roll, delivery game, two-player… He’s a good guy who rolls to the edge and finishes. Defensively… he can guard a lot of spots.”
He hadn’t done any of these things in a long time.