Ben Simmons Sends Strong Message About Playing Center for the Nets

Ben Simmons

Getty Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets speaks at the podium during a press conference at Brooklyn Nets Media Day at HSS Training Center

When the Brooklyn Nets were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the first round of last season’s Eastern Conference Playoffs, it felt like the team was ready to move on from their Ben Simmons experience. They acquired Simmons at February’s NBA trade deadline in a blockbuster deal with the Philadelphia 76ers involving James Harden. They brought back Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond in the trade, and Simmons was supposed to be the third of a new big three in Brooklyn. 

Simmons was expected to rehab for two weeks to get back into game shape and then join his new team on the court. However, that never happened. Simmons battled an injured back and mental health for the entirety of the season and even in their playoff series when he was expected to play but was ruled out just before tipoff citing a mental block. Fans called on the team to get rid of Simmons, but the team seemed to have other plans, including having the Australian point guard play extensive minutes in their frontcourt. Now, we know that Simmons is also expected to get some run at the center position. 


Ben Simmons on Playing Center for the Nets

Throughout the summer, it was reported that the Nets were considering playing Simmons at the center role in his return from injury. Simmons is known for being a tough defender and even finished in second place for 2020’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. For the first time, we heard Simmons comment on the possibility of playing center following the team’s September 28 practice. 

“I’m looking forward to it,” Simmons said. “I’ll play wherever the team needs me to play, whatever helps. I can guard 1 to 5, play 1 to 5. I think it’s just one of those things where we have so many different talents on this team, you could put me anywhere to help get points, get stops, whatever it is. … I love playing the 5, I don’t mind.”

Simmons playing center gives the Nets a tremendous amount of flexibility. He is a playmaking center that could create for himself as well as his teammates off of the dribble. He has a decent post game and helps space the floor for the Nets with his slashing ability. 


Steve Nash on Simmons’ Versatility

Nets head coach Steve Nash commented on what the versatility of Simmons brings to the Nets this season. 

“Very unique,” Nash said of Simmons after the second full practice of training camp on Wednesday. “That’s what makes Ben great. That’s why I don’t care if he ever shoots a jump shot for the Brooklyn Nets. He’s welcome to, but that is not what makes him special and not what we need. He’s a great complement to our team, and he’s an incredible basketball player because of his versatility.”

Nash went on to rave about how Simmons could likely fit with the other Nets superstars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. 

“I think they’ll have a certain element of cohesion out of the gates,” Nash said of the trio. “Because they’re all really good basketball players, but hopefully it’s something that evolves. And they can continue to find ways to make each other better. I think that’s the beauty, that they actually fit really well together, but it may take time.

“But out of the gates, they’re still three great basketball players who I think are excited to play together and will make things happen immediately. But let’s hope that there’s a constant growth as well.”

 

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Allan Gray
Allan Gray
2 months ago

Might be the best thing for him, keep him close to the basket. He can switch easy, pass from the post. Steve Nash can coach.

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