Former Philadelphia 76ers‘ no. 1 pick Ben Simmons has lost his starting job with the Brooklyn Nets following all the roster turnover they had after trading Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. In light of Simmons’ demotion, Vaughn revealed the rather short message he had for Simmons after putting him on the Nets’ bench.
“I’ll be honest with the message. You might not like the message… but 10-15 years from now, you’ll know that I was honest and upfront with you,” Vaughn said, per Matt Brooks of NetsDaily.
Simmons has not been putting up the same numbers with the Nets that he did with the Sixers. This season, Simmons is averaging 7.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.3 assists while shooting 56.7 percent from the field. In his last year with the Sixers, by comparison, Simmons averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.9 assists while shooting 55.7 percent from the field.
While Simmons’ scoring averages in particular have gone down, his minutes haven’t fallen that much this season, averaging 26.8 minutes a game with the Nets this season compared to 32.4 minutes in his last season with the Sixers.
With the additions the Nets have made, it could result in his minutes going down even further from here.
Doc Rivers Voices Optimism For Simmons’ Future
After the Sixers narrowly defeated the Nets, 101-98, on February 11, Sixers Head Coach Doc Rivers spoke highly of Simmons, vocalizing his faith that he can get back to the player that he was before.
“I always have an affection for the guys I coach,” Rivers said, per Ky Carlin of SixersWire. “It never goes away. It doesn’t and I believe he can get back to where he was with us. Especially, now that he’s gonna have the ball in his hands more. I think that’s what we did that kinda freed him up, but it’s just gonna take time. Now, what, it’s been a year and a half? I don’t think it’ll be overnight, but he’s working, and that’s all you can do. I hope the best.”
Rivers then made it clear that whatever issues he had with Simmons in the past is firmly in the past and that there’s no bad blood between them.
“It’s not like we’re enemies or things like that,” Rivers added. “At the beginning, right away, none of us talked to anybody. That whole thing was awful, but that’s gone now. That’s in the past and we’re human. We move on. That’s a part of life, man. Stuff happens and you just gotta move on from it and still love people and usually that energy is way more better than hate. I can tell you that.”
Simmons’ Thoughts on Bench Role
In an interview with Kristian Winfield of New York Daily News, Simmons admitted that he has “no idea” what his role will be moving forward after all the moves the Nets have made.
“Everything’s been changing all year, so it’s hard to really understand what’s going on, but hopefully we find some rhythm and consistency,” he told Winfield. “It’s different. It’s a different experience (coming off the bench). So whatever the team needs from us to win, I’m willing to do that.”
Simmons then vocalized how frustrating it can be with injuries and trades, but now that the Nets are putting it past them, he believes they can find a rhythm with their new squad.
“I think it’s a little frustrating trying to find some rhythm and consistency, but that’s what it is at this point right now,” he said. “Guys have been in and out due to injuries, trades, so there’s been a lot of different things that play factors into it. Hopefully, now we get a little bit of a stretch where we can find some rhythm and consistency.”