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Nets hoping to utilize Ben Simmons’ versatility at center

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Ben Simmons Nets
Nets point guard Ben Simmons speaks with reporters following the second day of training camp.
Photo Credit: Christian Arnold

Ben Simmons, and just about every Nets fan in Kings county, had envisioned what it would look like to see the point guard on the floor with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Nets squad. Two days into training camp it has lived up to what the 26-year-old pictured leading up to the start of things. 

During a recent appearance on “The Old Man and The Three” podcast Simmons had expressed his excitement about the 2022-23 iteration of the Nets and so far he has liked what he has seen on the court. 

“We have a lot of talented guys. Just have to put everything together,” Simmons said after the second day of camp at HSS Training Center. “Everyone coming together and working towards that one goal. I think we’re the only ones in our way. We have to stay focused, locked in and play the game.” 

Simmons will be a big part of the Nets success or failures this season and head coach Steve Nash is looking to use his versatile nature to his advantage. Simmons is known for his defensive prowess and playmaking ability, which Nash believed would compliment the likes of Durant and Irving, and he can also pull down rebounds.

He has averaged 8.1 per game over the course of his career.

“Defensively, rebounding, the talent he has in those two areas but also just size,” Nash said. “Team size was something we struggled with last year.” 

The Nets head coach said that he felt “great” with using Simmons in the center role this season as well, especially with the skillset that he has at the guard position. Center had been a role that Simmons played occasionally in Philadelphia, but not with any sort of regularity. 

Simmons expressed excitement at the opportunity to do so with the Nets this season. 

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I’ll play wherever the team needs me to play. Whatever helps. I can guard one through five, play one through five. Think it’s just one of those things…where you can put me anywhere to help get points, get stops.” 

Simmons is not expected to have any restrictions this season after dealing with back issues that ultimately kept him off the court after arriving in Brooklyn in February. Nash sounded like he planned to use Simmons as much as he would have originally before the back ailment reared its ugly head.

However, the third-year coach did say that nothing was set in stone, but Simmons was in a good place.

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Seeing Simmons out on the court with Durant and Irving has been a long time coming and it has been an experience that the point guard has enjoyed thus far. 

“You’re playing with two great NBA players, some of the greatest,” he said. “For me it’s just playing alongside them. Figuring out their shots, how they move.” 

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