Nets Kevin Durant Sounds off on Ben Simmons After Loss to Sixers

Kevin Durant

Getty Kevin Durant sits on the bench before the Nets preseason matchup with the 76ers.

After a rollercoaster offseason, the Brooklyn Nets finally took to the court on October 3 to kick off the preseason against their conference rival Philadelphia 76ers. When All-Star forward Kevin Durant made his trade request on June 30, the chances of the Nets ever debuting their All-Star trio of KD, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons seemed slim. But after Durant rescinded his request at the end of the Summer, the Nets were finally able to roll out their new “Big 3”.

Albeit in a loss, there is still a lot of excitement surrounding the NBA’s next super team. Durant knows it won’t happen overnight, but eventually expects things to click for Simmons, as he continues to find his rhythm with his new squad.

“Just more reps I think, just more game time. He looked great to me,” Durant said of Simmons’ debut with the Nets via Sports Illustrated.

“I mean, obviously he just wanted to get his feet wet a little bit, and then as time goes on he’ll continue to find his rhythm. But like I said, good to see Ed [Sumner] moving fast out there. Good to see Joe [Harris] out there shooting the ball well.”

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Durant Shows Love To Returning Nets Players

The Nets acquired Simmons last February at the NBA trade deadline in a blockbuster deal that brought the former Defensive Player of the Year candidate to Brooklyn and sent 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden to the Sixers.

But a back injury prevented Simmons from making his Nets debut last season and eventually required off-season surgery. Combined with his time away as a member of the Sixers, it had been 470 days since he last saw NBA action.

But Simmons is not the only Nets player who has missed an extended period. So have role players Edmond Sumner and Joe Harris. After suffering a near career-ending Achilles rupture that sidelined him for more than a year, Durant can relate to the struggle of getting reacclimated to the NBA game. The Nets star says it is a ‘nerve-wracking’ feeling but is happy to see his teammates tackle the challenge head-on.

“You spend a year off from the game, and you play organized basketball again, I mean, that’s a nerve-wracking feeling: to wake up that morning, at shoot around, that nap, you’re thinking about those minutes you’re about to play,” Durant added.

“So it’s good to see them get over those nerves a little early, and it’s always good to start a race. Once we’re in it now, you understand what you have to do. So it’s a good first start for us.”

Nets Injury Woes Not Over Yet

Despite the Nets’ elation in getting back Sumner, Simmons, and Harris, their injury woes are far from over. Role players Seth Curry (ankle) and TJ Warren (foot) were not in the Nets’ lineup on Monday as they continue their injury rehab.

Injuries were a major catalyst in the Nets’ downfall last season, as they just could not escape the bug. Durant missed a large chunk of the season due to an MCL sprain he suffered in the first half of the year, and Harden missed time as well before being traded on February 10.

Health will once again be a factor in Brooklyn’s title chances this season. It will be interesting to see if it is an obstacle they can avoid.

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