There is no doubt that the acquisition of Ben Simmons has been a mixed bag of feelings for Brooklyn Nets fans everywhere. But two months into his tenure, he has yet to hit the floor for the Nets.
Simmons’ story since joining the Nets has been as convoluted as ever, and it’s only been eight weeks. Being traded before the all-star break, the expectation was that he would debut soon after. That didn’t happen. Then a bad back, maybe a few weeks before he would don the black and white jersey? Nope. In reality, the Nets star has been suffering from a herniated disc in his back.
According to this Shams Charnia tweet that Simmons still hasn’t played, and the Nets expect to roll him out and be a factor late in the series versus the Boston Celtics.
But here’s what Steve Nash and the Nets are culpable of if they decide to play Simmons if he is healthy (both physically and mentally).
There really is no sense of the impact Simmons will have, as he’s sat out an entire season. The last time anyone saw him play at any sort of competitive level of basketball was after his famous Game Seven blunder versus the Atlanta Hawks.
How are Nets fans, coaches, and players supposed to feel confident that Simmons will be able to perform in the hostile Boston environment? Or, find his role within a Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant offense, and shift into a new character, one that he’s never played before -being that he has always been a dominant point guard his entire career-?
As soon as Simmons steps onto the court, coach Ime Udoka of the Celtics will immediately activate “Protocol Hack-a-Ben” and force him to the free-throw line alongside a belligerent Boston crowd roaring towards him.
But there are still questions about the workload Simmons will have when, or if, he enters a late series. Will he be on minute restrictions? Will his back is not ready? Or, is he even mentally prepared to withstand what the Boston crowd, and team, can throw at him?
Despite all that, and every concern that has been listed, would it really be so beneficial for the Nets to throw him into this series after such a long absence? Would his defensive presence against the dynamic offensive duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown counter all of it? Would he be able to push the pace in a full-court offense? But all of these questions only apply if the Nets really need him to step up and have no other choice.
Overall, it seems pretty clear that pitching Simmons on the court may not be so much a positive as a negative.