Nets’ Ben Simmons After First Game in 470 Days: It Was ‘Amazing’

Ben Simmons took the court for the first time in 470 days, as the Nets made their preseason debut in a blowout loss to the 76ers.Ben Simmons

Simmons teamed with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in the starting lineup (and Joe Harris and Nic Claxton), though starters on both sides played limited minutes. Still, it was something that Simmons hadn’t experienced in a long time — game action.

“Amazing. I’m grateful just to be able to step on a NBA floor again. I had a lot of fun out there,” Simmons said, via Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “I thought I’d be nervous, but I wasn’t nervous: I was excited. To have that feeling to be able to come out and know you’re going to play on a NBA floor especially at Barclays with some great players, it’s excitement.” 

No one from the Nets’ Big Three played more than 19 minutes or played in the second half. But the idea for coach Steve Nash was just to start getting them a little run together.

“Anytime anybody comes back, it’s going to take some time,” Irving said, via Lewis. “He’s going to love playing with us. … But for him to be out there for his first game, and for us to experience it with him, it’s something we can remember for the rest of the season, and it’s something we got through. This is Day 1, highly anticipated. I’m glad it went his way on some easy baskets, and he made some great plays. But obviously, he knows he has a ways to go before he gets to feeling like his true self.” 

Simmons finished with six points, five assists and four rebounds, but the Nets were outscored by 10 points when he was on the court. Sixers stars Joel Embiid and James Harden did not play.

“It was fun messing up because I know how good we can be,” Simmons said, via Lewis. “And seeing different looks and opportunities there and working with Kevin and Ky and Joe [Harris], seeing where they want the ball and how things are going to work in the flow. The only way you’re going to learn is by making mistakes. So I had a few out there. I can go and watch film and say I know what I did wrong and how to fix that. It’s all a learning process for me, so it’s good.” 

Simmons was traded from the 76ers to the Nets as part of the Harden deal in February. A back issue kept him out for the second half of the season. He missed the first with what was reportedly mental health issues.

Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 32 teams!

Leave a Reply