This isn’t the season the Brooklyn Nets anticipated as the 2022-23 season approached, and they were preparing to see their big three of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons. The Nets traded for Simmons at last season’s trade deadline as part of the blockbuster deal for James Harden. Simmons didn’t appear for the Nets immediately following the trade as they expected him to take a week to ten days to get into game shape. However, Simmons remained out due to injury for the remainder of the season and even their playoff series against the Boston Celtics.
This season, Simmons made his return to Brooklyn, and so far, he has had visible rust after his extended absence due to injury. The point guard is averaging 5.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. Now, Simmons has again missed a few games with injury, and according to reporting from Shams Charania of The Athletic, there is growing frustration with Simmons around the Nets organization.
Frustration is Growing in Brooklyn Over Simmons’ Struggles
Not only are people within the Nets organization frustrated at Simmons’ availability to play in games, but according to Charania, there is much more to their concerns.
“According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation, the frustration surrounding Simmons had been building in recent weeks within the organization. The coaching staff and players have been concerned about his availability and level of play, with some questioning his passion for the game, those sources said. But even when he did play, Simmons’ struggles in his first nine games this season were part of the Nets frustration as well,” Charania wrote.
Charania’s report was the first time that Simmons’ passion for the game has been questioned in his time for the Nets. That had been something that was questioned in his time with the Philadelphia 76ers, and is now returning. They are also frustrated by his poor play that he started the season with.
Simmons Speaks Out on Struggles
Ben Simmons spoke with Charania and The Athletic on November 15, and in it acknowledged criticism that he knows is impending.
“You’re obviously not gonna be happy when anybody’s out,” Simmons told The Athletic. “But for me, I’ve been dealing with the knee since the start of the season. It’s been swollen. I had PRP (injections). I had blood drained a couple times. So it’s not a made up thing, you know? It’s a real thing.
“I get (the skepticism), but I think the one thing with me is that I’m a competitor. I want to win and play. So I’m gonna do what I can to get out there.”
Simmons also spoke more about the sides of his injury that others aren’t aware of.
“There’s only so much I can really do (about perception),” Simmons said. “You can’t make people believe, you know? They weren’t there when I was on the floor and couldn’t walk (because of his back). They weren’t there when I was in the ambulance getting taken to the hospital (after a Feb. 22, 2020 game at Milwaukee). People weren’t there, so they don’t know. That was the first episode I had against Milwaukee. That was the original trigger of it…right before COVID, the start of my back issues.
“But that’s a part of my journey. There’s times when I couldn’t walk. I had a dead foot. Couldn’t sleep. A lot of stuff was going on with me, physically, to where it was tough. But there’s only so much I can say for somebody to believe, you know?” Simmons said.