Nets Star Sends Strong Message to Jacque Vaughn Amid Losing Skid

Ben Simmons, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving

Getty Kevin Durant #7 talks with Ben Simmons #10 and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at Barclays Center

The Brooklyn Nets dropped their third straight game after losing to the San Antonio Spurs on January 17. Despite being down two All-Stars in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets remained within striking distance for most of the game. But a pivotal moment came when Nets star Ben Simmons got benched after picking up his fourth foul of the contest in the third quarter, where the Nets were outscored 18-25 by San Antonio.

Simmons admits that he would have rather stayed in the game, despite being two fouls away from being disqualified. But he understands that will come with Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn trusting him more.

“As a competitor, I want to stay in the game regardless of if I got four because I got two more to give. So, I kind of want that trust in coach for him to just leave me out there. I’ve been in situations where I’ve had four fouls, and you’ve got to trust your guys,” Simmons said via the New York Post.

“Obviously it’s frustrating to pick up your fourth. I think it’s a game of runs. I don’t think we managed it well. We needed to get stops, and that’s where we flourish, getting stops, getting out in transition. Too many fouls, too many turnovers, no transition, which is really what the game was.”

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Ben Simmons Puts Nets Teammates on Notice

The Nets are now winless since Kevin Durant went down on January 9 with an MCL strain, and now Kyrie Irving missed their last game against the San Antonio Spurs with right calf soreness. The Nets have gotten rocked by injuries this year, contributing to a significant number of their losses.

But Simmons believes that just because Durant and Irving, the Nets’ two best players on the roster, are on the injury report, that doesn’t give them a pass for losing. He believes the Nets have the roster to perform at a high level without their star duo.

“We’ve got the guys to do it, and we’ve seen that. I think guys have got to stay poised and stay together, and that’s what it is,” Simmons said via the New York Post.

“We can’t expect … we can’t rely on Kev and Ky every night. Everyone has to step up and do their job, regardless of who’s going to be starting or who’s playing.”

Jacque Vaughn Sounds off on TJ Warren

With Durant and possibly Irving out for an extended period, the Nets need all the wins they can get if they hope to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference. And a game against the Spurs, a team that most people expect to be in this year’s NBA draft lottery, is a game they are supposed to win.

After dropping that game and the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns up next on the schedule, Vaughn could look to play TJ Warren more, despite the Nets forward being on a minute restriction.

“I’m really trying to get our guys to concentrate on today. … If Phoenix presents itself and T.J. can play more minutes, then we’ll try and win that game with T.J. But I’ll be smart about it long-term. I don’t want to put guys in a position where we don’t have them for the stretch. Again, we’re going to try and use everybody in Phoenix and try to get a win,” Vaughan said via the New York Post.

“It’s really going to be a challenge for us because you look at last week: We had two games in seven days, we were supposed to take care of business and have a lot of juice and effort [Tuesday]. We didn’t take care of business. Now we come [to Phoenix] and you’ve got three in four [days], so you’ve got to think about that, what that looks like on a back-to-back with Phoenix and Utah.”

After dropping their last three games, the Nets’ next game against the Suns becomes an even more important game. Especially for the morale surrounding the team.