Ben Simmons presented by Brooklyn Nets at HSS Training Center
Ben Simmons has arrived in Brooklyn.
After joining the Nets for Monday morning’s shootout and watching tonight’s win over Sacramento with his teammates on the bench, the three-time NBA All-Star discussed last week’s blockbuster trade at HSS Training Center on Tuesday. morning.
“I didn’t get much sleep the first few days, but overall it’s been a great experience so far,” Simmons said. “The organization welcomed me as their own and whatever I needed, they were very supportive which was great, as were the players. Super excited to get out there and play.
The Nets acquired Simmons along with Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, along with two first-round picks, in a trade deal last Thursday that sent James Harden and Paul Millsap to Philadelphia. Curry and Drummond made their Nets debuts in Monday night’s 109-85 win, with Curry leading Brooklyn with 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting plus seven rebounds and five assists while Drummond had 11 points and nine rebounds. Both players jumped straight into Brooklyn’s starting lineup.
“It felt like it was always meant to feel,” Simmons said of his early experiences with the Nets. “My teammates hugged me as soon as I got here, and on top of that the fans were very welcoming which was great and the energy just in the locker room and just around the building was great.”
Simmons brings to Brooklyn one of the most unique player profiles in the league – an elite playmaker and multi-tiered defenseman with a center height of 6-foot-11. The No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Simmons was the Rookie of the Year for the 2017-18 season after missing the 2016-17 season through injury. He was subsequently named to the All-NBA Third Team in 2019-20 and to the All-Defensive First Team each of the past two seasons.
Over four full seasons — he has yet to play this season — Simmons has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game while shooting 56%. He compiled 32 triple-doubles, 13th in NBA history, in 275 games.
“Ben is such a unique talent that his genius is that he does so many things on a basketball court,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said ahead of Monday night’s win over Sacramento. “He is able to perform and create for others with his size, speed and vision. He is an incredible player on the counter-attack. He’s an elite defender, an incredible rebounder for his position, and he can play in different places offensively. He can facilitate as a point guard, he can be a playmaker, be a roller, so he can facilitate in different ways offensively and we know what he has defensively. He’s kind of a non-traditional basketball player who is successful in so many different areas of the game. It’s going to be fun to put him in our program and try to help him find his best, which is exciting.
The start of a new journey pic.twitter.com/4cSKZnOXdk
— The Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 15, 2022
“He’s one of them, in my opinion,” Kyrie Irving said after Thursday night’s game in Washington. “I think we all have skill sets that are very unique. And we bring different things to the table. And when I look at Ben, I see so many different skills that he has that he can bring onto the pitch with us and I see so many different positions that he can play for us. I really appreciate his IQ, just so I can handle the game – [at] 6-11, 6-10, as he does that and then comes to our team and adds that depth, I’m really excited. I’m not really too caught up in comparisons, but you can definitely see flashes of greatness from other players who came before it.
Born in Australia, Simmons came to the United States to play high school basketball at the very powerful Montverde Academy under coach Kevin Boyle, who had also coached Irving at St. Patrick’s in New Jersey.
Simmons has a long relationship with fellow teammate, fellow Australian Patty Mills.
“Someone who has a ton of experience in the league, playing on big teams, the Olympic team too, but our relationship goes back to when I was super young,” Simmons said. “My dad coached him when he was 12 or something super young. We had that relationship for a while and he was always very supportive if I needed anything, so I think that the chemistry has been there for a while. But this will be the second time we’ve played together, so I’m excited for that.
“I have his back. I always had his back,” Mills said. “And now I have the opportunity to be with him. So I had his back from afar and I wish I had been with him earlier in his career. But being able to do what I can from afar. I so I’m thrilled to be able to be with him in that aspect and help him in any way necessary. That’s how it’s always been. But at the end of the day, I’m excited for it. And I know that he is too. That we’re together, I think it’s going to be great for both of us. For me to keep learning things and for me to share with him as much as I can as a professional and as a than an athlete.
The timeline for Simmons to return to the field and make his Nets debut is yet to be determined. Nash said before Monday’s game that was largely up to the performance team. But Simmons is eager to be part of a fast-paced offensive powerhouse that he’ll play a big part in powering.
He said he spoke to Kevin Durant shortly after the trade on Thursday. With Durant and Irving, plus other shooters in Curry, Mills and Joe Harris, the Nets can flood the floor with scorers and playmakers Simmons can work with.
“I try to compare it to my previous seasons with JJ Redick, Ersan Ilysaova and Marco Belinelli,” Simmons said. “We were playing Miami in the first round and just the way we were sinking and playing is how I know how to play basketball. I’m the kind of player I like to see everyone score and contribute like he you can. That’s how you have to play to win. If you want to be a winner, you have to play with all the guys on the field and maximize everyone’s abilities.