Eric Spoelstra Sends Strong Message About Game Planning for Nets’ Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons

Getty Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets is congratulated by teammates as he is taken out in the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers during a preseason game

The Brooklyn Nets are back and have started preseason play, but they also got key returns from Ben Simmons, who they acquired at the February trade deadline in the James Harden blockbuster and was unable to join the team last season. As well as Joe Harris who returns from injury. Both are bound to make an impact for this year’s Nets squad, but Simmons has an extra interesting role for Brooklyn. 

Simmons in his return with the Nets has become a big part of the Nets’ game plan. Nets head coach Steve Nash has made it no secret that he loves the versatility that Simmons brings. He has also shared his intentions to play Simmons as their big guy. At times we can expect to see Simmons playing center as the team’s lone big man on defense and point guard initiating playmaking on offense. It is certainly an interesting thing to look out for this season. While Simmons is opening the game planning for his head coach, other coaches are noting the nightmare he brings for opposing teams game plans. 

Eric Spoelstra on Game Planning for Ben Simmons

Miami Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra talked about what having Ben Simmons in their lineup means for the Nets and how it causes headaches for opposing team’s game planning against this Brooklyn team. 

“He is a tough guy to game plan for because so much of what he does is in the open court or those unscripted plays,” Spoelstra said. “His size, his ability to pass and his passing angles are much different than smaller players. He can just throw it over the top of a lot of different coverages. You’re just happy he’s back out there competing again [after being out an entire season].”

Spoelstra noted an excitement for Simmons returning from injury and the mental block he faced last season. The Nets are happy, too as he brings their lineup incredible verstatility. Versatility that Steve Nash is raving about as the Nets head coach. 

Steve Nash on how the Nets will use Ben Simmons

“[He’s] very unique, very versatile and I think the versatility is going to be a huge part of our team,” Nash said ahead of tipoff against the Heat on Thursday. “For us it’s about trying to get a clarity in his mind of how we want him to play. How do we want to [get] the best out of him? Because it is different. He’s played one way for the first part of his career, now we’re getting to a place where [the way he plays is] very different than he did in Philly.”

Nash also noted how the Nets will use him alongside Nic Claxton at center and the multiple possible roles that he will have and how they may address that moving forward. 

“We’ve got to find a kind of a template for how we want him to play in that scenario too, which can be really positive, as well,” Nash said. “So he’s just getting him used to all the different kinds of roles that he’s going to play with our group and how we want to play. And as we progress on that process, I think we’ll see a really great Ben Simmons.”

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