Kyrie Irving Sends Stern Message to Ben Simmons After Nets Blowout Loss

Kyrie Irving

Getty Kyrie Irving prepares for a preseason showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers.

After a summer filled with turmoil, rooted in the uncertainty of Kyrie Irving’s future and Kevin Durant’s trade request, the Brooklyn Nets finally debuted their new ‘Big 3’ featuring three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. However, not too much went well for the Nets in their blowout loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Simmons was the highlight of their woes after fouling out of the game in just 23 minutes of play. Following the loss, Kyrie reminded Simmons about how much of a necessity he is for the Nets, which means he has to play aggressively and smartly.

“As we told him in the locker room, he’s a valuable piece for us and we need him out there. And fouling out is not an option,” Irving said to reporters after the loss, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “Playing aggressive is something that we want him to do, but we also want to play smart.”

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Simmons Sounds off After Nets Debut

Simmons finished the contest with 4 points, 5 assists, and 5 turnovers while taking just three shot attempts. So, his fouling out, cannot realistically be attributed to over-aggressiveness. But what is important to note is that Simmons has not played in NBA regular season action in over a year. And while playing in scrimmages and preseason games are good ways to reacclimate your body to the game, nothing compares to the actual wear and tear of the NBA season.

After hitting the floor for regular season action for the first time in over 15 months, Simmons admits he may have been a little “too excited” which could have been why he fouled out.

“I was just too excited, honestly,” Simmons said after the loss, per NetsDaily. “But it was just great to be out there. The first game, obviously, you want to win. But we know the reasons we lost, there are multiple reasons we lost. And those are things we can fix. We know that’s not us as a team. I think there’s a lot of jitters out there early on, but it was good to get out of the way.”

Nash Preaches Patience on ‘Rusty’ Simmons

Rome was not built in a day, and although Nets fans are growing tired of having to stick it out until things get better, the reality is that they will have to be patient with Simmons. Though it may seem as simple as Simmons just getting back on the court and playing, more factors contribute to him returning to the form that fans have grown accustomed to.

Nets head coach Steve Nash believes that Simmons is still a little on the rusty side, and getting him back to playing at an All-Star caliber level will be a process.

“I just think he’s rusty. The guy hasn’t played for over a year—still getting used to referees, defense, and offense. This is a process,” Nash said to reporters via NetsDaily.

“You guys have heard me say it, but he’s shown obviously glimpses of the player we know he is and can be but it’s not easy. We’re here to support him, we’re here to push him, coach him up, and try to get him to a place where he can play at the level he’s played in the past. It’s all there for him.”

Brooklyn will have an opportunity to get back on track in their next game against the Toronto Raptors.

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