Last year, Ben Simmons was part of one of the biggest stories in the NBA. After requesting a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers in the offseason, the former No. 1 pick sidelined himself until his demands were met. It would not be until the trade deadline that Daryl Morey sent the multi-time All-Star to Brooklyn in exchange for James Harden.
Following the deal, it was still unclear when Simmons was going to finally take the floor. During his ramp-up process, he suffered a back injury that delayed his return even more. There were rumors of him possibly playing in the postseason, but that never came about.
During a recent appearance on "The Herd," FS1's Ric Bucher reported that Simmons left the Brooklyn Nets' group chat after being asked to suit up against the Boston Celtics. Following this news, The Atheltic's Shams Charania stated the information was inaccurate while being a guest on "The Pat McAfee Show."
"All I'm going to say is this never happened."
"Listen, it sounds amazing, but it didn't happen."
Charania also mentioned that the 6'10 point guard has been working hard this offseason and should be ready for training camp.
Can Ben Simmons be a differene-maker for the Brooklyn Nets this season?
It's still unclear what the Brooklyn Nets roster might look like, but Ben Simmons has the potential to be a real difference-maker if he can return fully-healthy. Even more so if Kevin Durant is still on the roster.
As far as his style of play goes, Simmons is in a perfect position to highlight his talents. Not only will he be flanked by two star-level talents, but an array of knockdown shooters as well. Allowing him to showcase his elite-level IQ in the drive-and-kick game.
When James Harden first got to Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving was willing to relinquish point guard duties. If he is willing to do the same for his new running mate, the two should be able to easily co-exist. They could even be a good pick-and-roll combo if the former 76ers star is willing to accept a Draymond Green-type role in the offense.
In the past, defense has been a key weakpoint for the Nets. With a defensive-minded player on the floor, that will drastically change. Before his meltdown in Philly, Simmons was in the conversation for the Defensive Player of the Year award. Along with being one of the league's top perimeter defenders, he is also arguably the most versatile.
If the All-Star guard truly wants to change the narrative of his career, he landed in a great spot to do so. Only time will tell how committed he actually is to the Nets moving forward.