Ben Simmons missed an entire season of basketball.
Whatever one may think of the drama surrounding that lost season — not to mention the back surgery he had this offseason — there should be an expectation of rust with his return. Simmons’ teammate in Philadelphia and now Brooklyn, Seth Curry, said just that when speaking to reporters in Australia (hat tip to Nets Daily for finding this).
“There are always challenges. Foremost, he has missed a whole season. It is going to be a challenge getting his rhythm back playing basketball,” Curry said.
“I don’t know specifically what he has been through, mentally – that’s hard for me to comment on – but having that year off, having that time off, of competing and playing five-on-five basketball is going to be just as hard … just taking some time and getting re-acclimated to playing high-level basketball, but he is a special talent, has all the skills. The Nets need him on the floor.”
Simmons hasn’t been on an NBA court since June 2021 — and that was not a positive experience, as he was passing out of a dunk in clutch time. Simmons’ return and how he fits in with the Brooklyn roster would be one of the more interesting stories of the offseason had Kevin Durant not blown that up too with his trade request. It’s impossible to discuss Simmons’ fit in a serious way if we don’t know whether Durant or Kyrie Irving will be his teammates or not (and if not, who comes back in their place?).
Although regardless of the ultimate roster construction, Curry said Simmons brings skills a team needs.
“He creates a lot of 3-point shots for his teammates. Obviously, it helps me a lot, to get good shots. The pick-and-roll game, and the hand-off game, the two-man game … he is a good guy rolling to the rim and finishing. Defensively … he can guard a lot of positions.”
Expect the Nets to keep Simmons’ minutes down to start the season and for there to be rust on every part of his game. That’s only natural. How Simmons handles the pressure, especially when things go wrong — the New York fans and media are not synonymous with forgiving — will be something to watch. But just getting Simmons back on the court will be good for the Nets. For Simmons. And for the NBA.