The Brooklyn Nets are currently trying to keep their heads above water. With Kevin Durant sidelined due to an MCL sprain, it’s been up to Kyrie Irving to carry the load, and since Durant has been out, the Nets have gone 2-5 and have slid down to fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.
Their most recent loss came against the Philadelphia 76ers, who are currently sitting in second place in the East. Ben Simmons, who was traded from the 76ers to Brooklyn at last year’s trade deadline, did not play the final minutes of the game. After the contest, Kyrie Irving sent a message on Simmons.
“Yeah, he just made a choice,” Irving explained via Erik Slater of Clutch Points. “He made a choice to put his head down and be aggressive for our team. We need him to do that. [We] came to the bench and was just encouraging him, as we do every single day. So, when he’s aggressive like that, being Ben Simmons then we look very, very good and it gives us opportunities that sometimes we don’t get if he’s not. So, we’re just gonna keep supporting him and just want to continue to do that.”
Throughout his time in Philadelphia, Simmons was crucified by 76ers fans for his lack of aggressiveness. His time with the team came to an end after he failed to put up a shot in their 2021 NBA Playoffs series against the Atlanta Hawks.
In his matchup against the 76ers on January 25, Simmons played 28:42, which was the fifth-most minutes on the team. During his time on the court, Simmons put up 12 points, five rebounds, and five assists on 5-of-7 shooting from the field.
Kyrie Irving Shows Support for Ben Simmons
Simmons has found a nice role in Brooklyn this year while playing alongside Durant and Irving. With those two taking on the scoring load, he’s been able to focus on the other aspects of his game. He can hone in on all of the things he does best.
”He’s just gotta be himself. We’re not gonna put too much pressure on him,” Irving told Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News. “We’re not gonna let this one particular game or any other games where he scored eight points, four points, it doesn’t matter. It’s all on us as a team to collectively put points on the board, and when he gets his opportunities, we just want him to be aggressive.”
Ben Simmons Sounds Off on Scoreless Night
In addition to Irving’s comments, Simmons also spoke about his scoreless night against the Celtics. He said that he knows he needs to be more aggressive.
“I think it starts with being aggressive knowing that my team needs that,” Simmons told Slater after failing to record a point against Boston. “I think I’m giving the ball up way too many times when I know who I am. I know I need to get to the rim and get buckets.”