Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie Makes Ben Simmons-Giannis Antetokounmpo Comparison

Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets.

If the Brooklyn Nets can just get the Philadelphia 76ers version of Ben Simmons, they might really have something.

“Ben from Philly – that I played against – elite athlete, 6-foot-10, guard all five positions,” Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said about Simmons on the ‘Gil’s Arena’ presented by Underdog Fantasy with Gilbert Arenas on May 23. Can do things that, I mean we probably only really see Giannis [Antetokounmpo] kind of do to a degree – I mean, without the length.”

Comparing anyone to Antetokounmpo is lofty praise, even for a former three-time All-Star and two-time All-Defensive selection in Simmons who finished this past season averaging 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists while appearing in just 42 games.

Antetokounmpo is a two-time MVP, has seven All-NBA and All-Star selections each, and is a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team.

Simmons, 26, has not made for than 58 appearances since the 2018-19 season.

Simmons is also the only current Net with an All-Star appearance to his credit and one of just two players with a season-long accolade – Mikal Bridges was named to the 2021-22 All-Defensive team. His lack of aggression or a jump shot has also flustered head coach Jacque Vaughn who has run the gantlet of ways to deploy him

“Trying to figure out what lineup fits around Ben, what position fits for Ben, how we can make him look good at every opportunity. I’m still trying to figure that out,” Vaughn said via the team’s official YouTube channel in February. “That’s on me to figure that out.”

The good news for everyone involved is that Simmons is said to be attacking his latest rehab stint with renewed vigor.

“If he’s right, I think he’s a All-Star guy,” said Dinwiddie. “If he’s not, then injuries are injuries.”

Simmons is under contract for the next two seasons with more than $78 million owed to him. The Nets need him to get back to the form that earned him the aforementioned accolades and that big-money contract.

Spencer Dinwiddie Identifies Next Steps for Cameron Johnson

Dinwiddie was also asked about another teammate, restricted free agent Cameron Johnson. He and the team have expressed a mutual interest in continuing the relationship but it could get pricey fast.

Johnson is expected to garner a lot of interest on the market and Dinwiddie knows why.

“There’s not too many people that shoot 45[%] from three, got enough wiggle to kind of get to the rim, get to the mid-range, and he’s 6-foot-9 too.”

Johnson averaged 16.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.4 steals in 25 games after being traded from Phoenix, all of which would have been career highs over an entire season.

He shot 37.2% from deep during the regular season with Brooklyn and was even better in the playoffs, connecting on 42.9% of his triples, and has a tight bond with Bridges that could help his cause to remain a Net.

Dinwiddie noted the additional ball-handling and playmaking ability Johnson showed with Brooklyn as part of his continued development.

But for Johnson to take his game to the next level, Dinwiddie says he has to stay healthy. He missed 37 games this past season after surgery to repair a torn meniscus and has never made more than 66 appearances in four NBA seasons and has only done that once.

“If he can start to put together 60, 65-plus-game seasons, I think [the] sky’s kind of the limit,” Dinwiddie said.

Spencer Dinwiddie: Kyle Kuzma ‘Was Hurt’ by Comments

The back-and-forth between Dinwiddie and his former Washington Wizards teammate, Kyle Kuzma, has taken yet another turn. What started as what Dinwiddie thought was honesty has turned into far more.

“Obviously, he was hurt by the things I said,” Dinwiddie said. “I never once said he wasn’t talented…Everything that I said, though, was designed to be honest.”

Dinwiddie called out the Wizards as a whole for prioritizing other things over winning after a loss to Washington in late January while he was still a member of the Dallas Mavericks. The Wizards traded the 30-year-old point guard to the Mavs less than two months earlier.

“The funny thing is they don’t play winning basketball,” Kuzma tweeted in response.

Dinwiddie appeared on FanDuel TV’s ‘Run It Back’ on April 12 and laid out the reasons why he thinks Kuzma’s priorities are out of order.

Kuzma responded to that interview with a six-tweet thread, reading Dinwiddie the riot act.

The highlights of Kuzma’s riff were that Dinwiddie has never won a championship (Kuzma helped the Los Angeles Lakers win in 2020), that Dinwiddie has been traded more, and that the Nets star tried to have his contract paid out in cryptocurrency.

Dinwiddie said he ignored Kuzma once the latter started name-calling, mocking the former’s last name, saying that is what school children do.

“Do I respect his talent level? Yes,” Dinwidde affirmed. “Do I respect his priorities? No.”