On the first day of Nets training camp, there was plenty to be positive about when it came to Ben Simmons.
The point guard had told reporters during team media day on Monday that he was feeling “ready to go” for the upcoming season and by all accounts during the first day of on-court work he looked it. Simmons is coming back after a year off to take care of his mental health and then back issues that kept him off the court after he was traded to the Nets at the trade deadline.
“Ben looked great. Ben’s been doing really well,” head coach Steve Nash said on Tuesday. “He’s put in the time this summer and he’s continually getting better every week. I think it looks to me like he’s pretty close to the player we envisioned and he’s going to make a big impact for us.”
Simmons was on the floor shooting during the open portion of practice for the media and he was spotted taking three-pointers at one point as well. Plenty had been made of Simmons’ shooting during the course of his career, especially towards the end of his tenure in Philadelphia.
Asked about how many threes he’d take during the season, he responded “s–t who knows.”
Ben Simmons shooting 3s at practice. pic.twitter.com/uK3G2RSsPA
— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer) September 27, 2022
But for the Nets his value comes more in his playmaking ability and his defensive nature. That is expected to go a long way teamed up with superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this season in Brooklyn.
“Offensively he’s special the way he reads the game you know get guys open,” Royce O’Neale said after practice. “Creates for himself and defensively him guarding multiple positions. His length, athleticism is going to be big guarding one through five.”
Markieff Morris said that Simmons looked like the player he had played against before in Philadelphia. “He’s Ben, he’s back to normal,” he added.
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Everything has seemed to trend in the right direction for Simmons so far since undergoing offseason back surgery. Getting to know his new teammates around him will be the final big hurdle in the eyes of the Nets head coach.
“I think just familiarity with his teammates,” Nash said. “For him, I just think it’s time. Time with his teammates, time playing the game. It’s been a long offseason if you want to call it that for him and so I just think that time getting his sharpness back and understanding his teammates.”