The Nets are never short on drama and now there appears to be a growing frustration over the play of Ben Simmons.
There have been concerns about his availability and level of play among the organization’s coaches and players, according to a report from The Athletic. That has also led to questions about his passion for the game from some
It was even addressed during a players-only meeting held after the Oct. 29 loss to the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center. Veteran Markieff Morris addressed how the Nets needed Simmons to succeed and that he had to respond to the adversity, which Simmons reportedly took in stride.
Morris took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to deny the report and took issue with the reporting.
“Who’s the source? Y’all gotta chill with these false stories man! Let me and my guys hoop!” Morris tweeted.
Who’s the source? Y’all gotta chill with these false stories man! Let me and my guys hoop! https://t.co/zjh68dEZ09
— Keef Morris (@Keefmorris) November 16, 2022
Simmons was expected to be a major part of the Nets’ game plan this season, alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Instead, Simmons had had career lows averaging 5.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists in nine games this season and he has been designated to come off the bench as the backup center.
The often-criticized former first-round pick has shown flashes of brilliance when he has been on the court and played one of his best games on Tuesday night in the Nets’ loss to the Sacramento Kings. He had 11 points and shot 5-of-7 from the field while adding five rebounds and three assists.
Simmons acknowledged during a conversation with the online sports outlet that he did understand where some of the frustration was coming from, especially after he has continued to deal with injuries since the season started.
“You’re obviously not gonna be happy when anybody’s out,” Simmons told The Athletic. “But for me, I’ve been dealing with the knee since the start of the season. It’s been swollen. I had PRP (injections). I had blood drained a couple times. So it’s not a made up thing, you know? It’s a real thing.
“I get (the skepticism), but I think the one thing with me is that I’m a competitor. I want to win and play. So I’m gonna do what I can to get out there.”
While Simmons says his back has been fine, it has been his knee that has been an issue of late and forced him to miss several games.
“I’m on full overload with treatment, everything I need to do to stay out there,” Simmons said.. “I’m just spending more time on the table, honestly, more downtime (where) I’m literally just leg up, icing, doing whatever I need to do – sleeping.
“Yeah (the knee is a bigger problem than the back), which is good. And that’s one thing with the league. You’ll be starting to have some (trouble) with one thing and then you’re thinking about your ankle or your leg or whatever it is. That’s gonna happen, but getting it under control is the most important part for me.”
All of this comes with a somewhat significant date coming up on the calendar next week.
The Nets are scheduled o travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday to face the 76ers. As long as Simmons is healthy it would mark the first time he has been back to Philly and would play in a game.
He was roundly booed last March when the Nets made a trip there but he did not suit up for the game.