The Brooklyn Nets suffered several key departures during the 2022 offseason. But perhaps the biggest departure for the Nets was their forward Bruce Brown, who had a breakout second half of the season in 2022.
Because of Brown’s breakout, most assumed that Brooklyn was a lock to re-sign him, but At the opening of NBA free agency, Brown signed a 2-year $13 million deal to join the Denver Nuggets. Now on a Nuggets squad that sits second in the Western Conference, Brown sent an apparent shot at the Nets front office for not believing in him.
“I’m doing things people said I couldn’t do,” Brown told Mike Singer of the Denver Post. “I’m talking to everyone who thought I couldn’t play a guard. That’s to a lot of GMs in the NBA.”
After the Nets completed a blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers, Brown’s level of play expanded exponentially. Per Stat Muse, he averaged 13.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 27 games for the Nets during that span.
Brown’s play elevated even more once the Nets made it to the postseason. Per Stat Muse, he averaged 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in the first round of the playoffs against the Celtics.
The latest Nets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Nets newsletter here!
Jacque Vaughan Gives Insight on Ben Simmons’ Injury
The Nets got back on the winning track in their matchup against the Orlando Magic on November 28. But it was not all good news for Brooklyn after Ben Simmons exited the game with knee soreness in the second quarter and did not return.
Simmons has dealt with his fair share of injuries since he arrived in Brooklyn. A herniated disc in his back prevented Simmons from making his Nets debut last season and ultimately required off-season surgery. However, Nets head coach Jacque Vaughan doesn’t believe Simmons’ latest injury is related to his surgery.
“No, I think more so than anything the accumulation of games. He hasn’t had this amount of accumulation of games over a period of a long time. Talked to the performance team about that. We were warned about that just as these games start to add up,” Vaughan told reporters after the win.
“His cumulative load as that begins to add up, it’s really stretching him sometimes the number of games we’ve just had with the minutes that he’s played pretty high going into tonight’s game.”
Kyrie Irving Sounds off on Ben Simmons’ Impact
Integrating Simmons into a lineup that already features Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving gave Brooklyn an added wrinkle to their offense. At 6’10 Ben Simmons has the tools to serve as Brooklyn’s point forward, something they did not have with Harden.
Sure, Harden can handle the ball better than Simmons, but the size factor is on the side of the 3-time All-Star, which is a nightmare for opposing point guards. Kyrie Irving sounded off on Simmons’ impact after the game.
“When he’s not out there, we don’t have our point forward, or our point guard,” Irving said. “Being able to initiate easy opportunities, and push the ball in transition, so we’ll definitely miss him in the lineup. Hopefully, he comes back next game. If he’s dealing with it, we just want him to come back as healthy as possible and we’ll figure it out.”
The Nets can get above .500 for the first time this season with a win over the Washington Wizards in their next game.