Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons will play his first regular season game since 2021 when the Brooklyn Nets take on the New Orleans Pelicans, a rising contender in the Western Conference. The former Philadelphia 76ers star will be a key contributor on a Nets team who aspires to compete for a title.
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. The tools are there for him to be successful; it is just a matter of him putting it all together.
The one weakness in his game is his lack of a jump shot, something many feels has hindered him throughout his career. But the new Nets star doesn’t necessarily believe his lack of a perimeter game is a hindrance.
“They’re going to say that regardless,” Simmons said of his shooting to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “Even if I hit a shot, what are they going to say? ‘I still can’t.’ F—, I can’t make everybody happy, you know? … That’s like saying can Giannis [Antetokounmpo] shoot? Can he?”
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Simmons Sound Off on His Shooting Critics
If not for his lack of a jump shot, Simmons would be a viable candidate for the title of the best player in the world. That’s how elite the other parts of his game are. He can pass the ball like Chris Paul, defend opponents like Kawhi Leonard, and rebound like Rudy Gobert. When you quantify his lack of shooting in that matter in comparison to all of his other strengths, his lack of a jump shot doesn’t seem like such as big deal as people make it out to be.
But Simmons says people are critiquing him as a person more than they critique his lack of a jump shot as a tactic to try and get in his head.
“Yeah, [Giannis’ shot is] better. But what is it? Is it not taking as many shots as people want me to? Is it not hitting every shot? Fans are always going to say something,” Simmons added.
“And it’s probably something that they’re like, ‘Yo, I can get in his head by doing this because I know this has always been something that people have spoken about.’ But at the same time [people say], ‘Ben can make great plays,’ so …”
Simmons, Sixers Had Bitter Breakup
Simmons and the Sixers had a bitter breakup. The friction between the two sides 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 aftermath of that loss, Simmons requested a trade from the franchise and sat out the first half of the season before the Nets acquired him from Philadelphia in exchange for James Harden in February.
Simmons has yet to play at the Wells Fargo Center in his Nets threads, but he did travel with the team to Philadelphia on March 10. He was serenaded with a chorus of boos from the Philadelphia faithful, a sign that his exit left a sour taste in the mouths of Sixers fans.
The Sixers and Nets are both stacked with talent and could meet in the playoffs to decide who has Eastern Conference supremacy. The NBA’s next great rivalry could be brewing before our very eyes.