Ben Simmons had to face a lot of heat from NBA fans this past season. He was constantly heckled by fans during games. However, this has now carried on even into the offseason. In a recent video that circulated around the internet, a man identified Ben Simmons as Russell Westbrook in a shopping mall.
It was certainly no accident as his intention was clearly to taunt Simmons and his poor shooting. However, doing this to a three-time All-Star in public is certainly not right.
Ben Simmons handled the situation calmly and did not lose his cool while the fan kept calling him Westbrook. This is not the first time something like this has happened to an NBA player.
In the past, Rajon Rondo was identified as Chris Paul by a fan. Russell Westbrook had incidents where he was called out as "Westbrick" by fans. All of this affects the players mentally as they have lives outside the basketball court.
When they step off the court, these players expect to lead a normal life. However, with fans calling them names in public is disruptive to their personal lives.
How important is next season for Ben Simmons?
Ben Simmons will enter the 2022-23 season with a lot to prove. He sat out the entire 2021-22 season due to his situation with the Philadelphia 76ers and then suffered a back injury. However, the three-time All-Star has been putting in work this offseason to be back at his level best for the Brooklyn Nets.
Despite all the controversy and uncertainty surrounding him, there is no doubt about how talented he is. The Australian, in just four active seasons, has made three All-Star and multiple All-Defensive selections. His ability to pass the ball and provide a key defensive presence makes him an asset to any team that he plays for.
There's a lot that has been going on down in Brooklyn, amidst all of that, the only positive for them is the return of Ben Simmons. He could possibly be the only star that they have left if Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant leave the Nets.
This certainly means that Simmons will have to put up some stellar performances next campaign to help the Nets stay competitive.
They have a great bunch of talent surrounding their stars. Seth Curry, Patty Mills, TJ Warren and Royce O'Neal are all sensational on any given day. They can provide the necessary support needed for the Nets team to thrive.
Whether they can be successful in the playoffs with that roster is something that is questionable. But Sean Marks could look at adding a few more pieces to make the team stronger.
Ben Simmons is a versatile player and his addition certainly adds strength to the Nets team. However, he has been out all season and could take some time to settle in. But if he can get going quickly, the Nets could make noise even with all that's happening on the outside.