Ben Simmons still has not played a game for the Brooklyn Nets.
Head coach Steve Nash gave an update on Simmons today and says he got some 4-on-4 work in and that it went well. While that sounds great, it feels like we’ve been hearing, “he’s almost ready,” all season. When the hell is Ben Simmons going to play?
I’ve been of the mindset that he won’t play in an NBA game this season. The regular season part of that came true, and it’s looking like the same will be said for the postseason. It feels like this sudden back injury Simmons is dealing with could hamper any return plans. We’ve seen clips of Simmons on the court getting work in before. So, I’m not going to get overly enthused about a video of Simmons dunking in the gym, going half speed.
But the Nets are down 1-0 and could be in a 2-0 hole by the time their first-round series shifts back to Brooklyn. If that happens, do we see Simmons make his return in Game Three or Four with the season potentially on the line? Should the Nets fall in game two of the series, Simmons may become an immediate necessity for them to advance past the first round.
As NBA fans, we all hoped we would have seen Simmons play by this point, but if he’s going to make his comeback, there’s no better time than the present. Like most of you, I’m still wondering how bad the back is since he hasn’t played all year. You’d think Simmons would be the freshest player on the team, if not the entire league.
Even if Simmons can only go 15-20 minutes his first couple of games back, the Nets need his size since that’s an area where they lack. I honestly think the Nets front office is looking toward next year with Simmons, but if he can return during this postseason, then of course, they’ll take that.
Brooklyn isn’t the deepest team in the NBA, so adding an All-NBA player like Simmons to the lineup should pay huge dividends. I don’t care that he hasn’t played all season. There’s no pressure on Ben to score on this Nets team. If Simmons can provide defense and facilitate the offense, Brooklyn can immediately take advantage of those aspects of his game.
It feels like Ben is in his own head. And it probably is a residual effect from game seven against the Atlanta Hawks in last year’s playoffs. After all, that game and post-game press conference are what led to Simmons deciding he’d had enough of Philadelphia. If that indeed was the case, I get that. But the back injury is still a mystery to most.
The Nets continue to provide minor updates on Simmons’ status that serve as nothing more than a tease. Aside from the update above given by Nash, there was also a recent update that Simmons is “pain free” now. Obviously, this is the reason he’s been cleared to play 4-on-4. But how long is it now going to take from this point to get Ben back on the court in uniform?
As great as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are, they need more help. That’s why the franchise went out and traded for James Harden last season. Obviously, that didn’t work out. But now, It’s time for Simmons to return to the court. If we don’t see Simmons by game three or four of this series with Boston, it’s probably not happening anytime soon. Like most of you, I’ll believe Simmons is ready to come back when I see him check into a game.