Nets Starter Sends Strong Warning to NBA About Ben Simmons Looming Return

Ben Simmons and Royce O'Neale

Getty Ben Simmons (L) and Royce O'Neale of the Brooklyn Nets attend a game between the Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2022 NBA Summer League

The Brooklyn Nets acquired All-Star forward Ben Simmons in a blockbuster trade that shook up the NBA landscape at last season’s trade deadline. The Philadelphia 76ers traded the former Defensive Player of the Year finalist in exchange for All-Star James Harden, who had grown restless about the future of the Nets.

Simmons was expected to make his debut at some point last season but needed to go through a ramp-up period as he has not played an NBA game since last June. But unfortunately, a flare-up in his back prevented him from making his Nets debut in 2022.

After having offseason surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back, Simmons expects to be ready for training camp. But many wonder what he will look like after not playing an NBA game for more than a calendar year. Nets guard Seth Curry says that he believes Simmons still has the skillset to be unstoppable.

“He’s a multiple All-Star right now for a reason,’’ Curry said to Australian newspaper the Herald Sun per NetsDaily.

“If he can add knocking down free throws at a higher clip, it’s going to allow him to be unstoppable once he puts his head down.”

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Curry: Simmons Doesn’t Need To Have Jumpshot

Simmons has only been in the league a short time and is already a multi-time All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year finalist. There are not many flaws in his game, but anyone who has watched Simmons play can see that his unwillingness to shoot often handcuffs his team’s offensive spacing.

But Curry, who has been Simmons’ teammate in both Philadelphia and Brooklyn, says he doesn’t need a jump shot to be a threat on offense.

I don’t think he needs a jump shot,’’ Curry added. “He’s just got to do what he does best – which is defend, rebound, push the ball, make plays for other people and attack the rim. “When you’ve got the size and talent like him, who takes not one but two and sometimes three guys to stop him getting to the rim, that is a lot in itself.’’

Joel Embiid on Simmons Departure: No Hard Feelings

The friction between Simmons and the Sixers may have started after a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the 2021 playoffs.

Simmons passed up a wide-open layup on a pivotal possession in the 4th quarter, which ultimately decided the game. In the postgame interview, Embiid seemed to call Simmons out when asked about the turning point of that game, replying, “We had an open shot, and we made one free throw.”

However, the Sixers’ star says he doesn’t hold any animosity towards Simmons.

“I don’t have any hard feelings,” Embiid said after Game 7 via Sports Illustrated.

“I don’t have any hate toward him. I wouldn’t mind being friends. That’s just me. I don’t care. Honestly. I respect the decision he made. I think it’s unfortunate what happened, but to me, it’s whatever.”

The extent of the Nets’ success will heavily depend on Ben Simmons’ availability. After having a corrective procedure on his back this summer, It will be interesting to see if he is ready for training camp.

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