Guard/forward Ben Simmons has not been able to stay entirely healthy after missing all of last season. More than that, or perhaps because of it, his play has been uneven.
And as relayed by Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, it appears that the Nets’ coaching staff, management and players are growing frustrated.
Some have even gone as far as to question Simmons’ passion for the game.
One of Simmons’ teammates, forward Markieff Morris, made his concern known following a loss to the Pacers — when the Nets held a players-only meeting. Morris made it clear to Simmons that the Nets needed him to step up and start overcoming adversity.
Simmons, for his part, seemed to take the criticism well and even admitted there was an “honest” conversation.
He also shot down the idea that he’s lost his passion.
“I love the game. Do I like all the bullsh*t around it? No,” he said, via Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “But I love the game and it comes with it. … It is what it is. I love playing basketball and I love to work. Not every day’s gonna be perfect. Everyone has down days; but that’s life.”
Simmons is owed $177 through 2025, and rumors have it the Nets are already more than open to trading him. He came to the team as a point forward or even point guard and top-notch defender, but he’s been coming off the bench as a center. His defense to this point has not lived up to its billing.
After all, this hardly falls on Simmons, but the Nets gave up a whopping 153 points in a loss to the Kings on Tuesday night. In a game like that, it’s hard to think anyone from Brooklyn was determined defensively.
So the Simmons experiment continues, and it’s still too early to say if new coach Jacque Vaughn will be able to get more out of him than Steve Nash did. But hopefully for both the Nets and Simmons, things will change soon. They are paying a high price just keeping him at the moment.