Ben Simmons completed a controversial move to the Brooklyn Nets at the trade deadline last season. Many believed that a move to the Nets would get Simmons back on the court. But the Australian failed to make a return owing to a back injury, for which he underwent surgery last month.
Despite his injury problems, reports emerged that he would be available for selection during the Nets' Game 4 against the Boston Celtics. Down 0-3, the team could have used his help to avoid a sweep, but the three-time All-Star did not play there either.
NBA analyst Ric Bucher shared what went down between Simmons and the Nets during that series. He said:
"They’re having a team chat before Game 4, thinking he’s going to play against the Boston Celtics. From what I’m told, Ben just left the chat. They asked him, ‘Are you going to play?’ Ben left the chat. Like he didn’t even answer the question, just left the chat and KD is like this is what I signed up for? This is who I’m playing with?"
Undoubtedly, this news is not pleasant as it indicates all the problems the Nets had last season. Simmons is now believed to be fit for next season and will be hoping to bring back his best on the court.
In his meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai, two-time champion Durant stayed on his demand for an exit from the team. He did mention that the organisation would have to choose between him or the coach and the general manager. However, Nets owner Joe Tsai has already come out and stated that the team will be backing the front office and coaching staff.
How important is Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets?
Despite all the controversy surrounding him, Ben Simmons is one of the most talented young players in the league. His elite passing and defense make him a special player to have on the court. The 26-year-old already has three All-Star and multiple All-Defensive selections.
Going into the 2022-23 season, all eyes will be on him as it will be his first time playing for the Nets. Having sat out the entire 2021-22 season, some rustiness can be expected from the Australian. However, he will be instrumental in their success next campaign.
With uncertainties surrounding the future of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons will have to be at his best. He certainly has the right fit of players around him, which is why it will be interesting to see how he performs.
Simmons is an ace defender who has the ability to guard all positions. This is what the Nets missed last season. Along with him, they are also anticipating the return of Joe Harris, who is another vital player for them. His ability to shoot threes at high volume and lockdown players with defense will be extremely beneficial for them.
There is still a little over two months before the season resumes. If the Nets sort out their problems and return with all the players, they can be a team to watch out for in the East. But if that doesn't happen, the likes of Ben Simmons, Joe Harris and Seth Curry will have to find a way to keep the team competitive.