The Brooklyn Nets will kick off their 2022-23 season on October 19 when they face off against Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans in their home opener. The Nets enter this season fresh off a tumultuous summer, where the futures of their franchise cornerstones Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving seemed uncertain, so to start the season with both is a plus for the franchise.
But perhaps even more exciting for Nets fans is the debut of three-time All-Star Ben Simmons who was acquired in the James Harden deal last season. Many people have questions about how effective Simmons will be for the Nets as he has not played in the NBA in more than a year. But the newly acquired Nets star says he is ready and keeping tabs on all his critics.
“I’m keeping tabs on everybody and what’s being said,” Simmons said to former Sixers guard JJ Redick on the latest episode of his “Old Man & the Three” podcast.
“I’m going to practice and get better. It is what it is. And that’s just part of the game. If I was a guy that sucked and people didn’t care, people wouldn’t be mentioning my name.”
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Simmons Sounds off on Injury Setback
Simmons, was acquired by the Nets in February. He was supposed to make his debut before the start of the postseason, but a back injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season and ultimately required him to have surgery in May. Simmons said that the flare-up that occurred right before the playoffs when he was walking up the stairs.
“I had some soreness in my back when I was working out,” Simmons said to Reddick.
“Then when I went to hop up the stairs and my whole right side just dropped, and as soon as I went up the stairs, I laid down and could not move.”
Simmons Calls Nets ‘Sixers on Steroids’
The Nets will finally get the opportunity to debut their All-Star trio of Durant, Irving, and Simmons. The addition of the former Sixers star adds a new dynamic to the Nets roster. That being the addition of an elite defender, something Brooklyn lacked with Harden as their third star.
And on offense, they have a surplus of talent with role players such as Joe Harris and Seth Curry to run with their All-Star trio. Simmons describes his new team as the Sixers but “on steroids”.
“I think just like the talent we have, and the type of players we have. We’re going to be able to run the floor easily. You know Claxton can run it and moves incredibly well, Kev, Patty, Kai, Joe, we just got Royce, another great three-and-d guy. I’m missing people, but I think this team right now is a great fit for what I do and what I bring to the game. I feel like it is Philly on steroids,” Simmons added.
“It’s exciting knowing that I’m going to play with those guys and knowing their games. Like, I don’t have to guard Kai and Kevin?”
The date for Simmons’ Nets debut is inching closer. It will be interesting to see what he brings to the table.