Ben Simmons has not impressed since playing for the Brooklyn Nets. Following the Nets’ loss to the New York Knicks in which Simmons put up a statline of two points, three rebounds, and two assists in 13 minutes of playing time, ESPN’s Zach Lowe had some harsh words for the former Philadelphia 76ers no. 1 pick.
“I’ve reached a point where I just feel bad for (Simmons),” Lowe said. “I’ve reached a point of just empathy. He’s clearly a broken player mentally. He’s scared of contact. He’s scared of free throws. He’s scared of shooting at the basket. It’s just sad to watch because we all know what this guy was as recently as two years ago. There’s really no point anymore in beating him up and beating him up for all the stuff that we can all see plain as day. I’ve reached a point now where I hope we see the old Ben Simmons or 75% of it again because the guy that’s playing now is a broken player.”
After the moves that the Nets made at the NBA Trade Deadline, Simmons is now coming off the bench, which makes him a far cry from the players that three All-Star teams and one All-NBA nod.
Simmons’ Thoughts on Bench Demotion
“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,” Simmons 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.”
Though Simmons admitted his frustrations in figuring out his new role, he voiced his optimism that he can find his rhythm.
“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.”
By acquiring Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Spencer Dinwiddie, the Nets have added a lot of depth to their roster, so Simmons’ role going forward could be a little ambiguous until the Nets figure out what to do with their new pieces.
Doc Rivers Rooting For Ben Simmons
After the Sixers defeated the Nets on February 11, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers made it clear that he’s rooting for Simmons to get back to the player he was and believes he’ll get there.
“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.”