Kevin Durant made it clear he wasn’t happy with the Brooklyn Nets earlier this summer when he demanded a trade.
Eventually the 34-year-old relented and withdrew the request after it became clear that his squad had zero intention of moving him, but issues continue to persist.
On Thursday night the Miami Heat blew Durant’s Nets out by 29 points, 109-80. It was an ugly effort through and through by the losing side.
Afterward, Durant was quite blunt about how dissatisfied he was with his team’s showing.
KD on what he liked from the Nets’ performance tonight:
“I didn’t like anything.”
After a brief pause he added — “I like that we came out of it healthy.”
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) October 7, 2022
Durant finished the Heat game with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field, but that is where the good times ended for the Nets.
Ben Simmons’ fear of taking the ball to the rim really showed itself against the Heat, particularly with Kyrie Irving out. He ended the day with four points, four assists and 10 rebounds. Worse yet, he did an awful job of protecting the basketball, amassing six total turnovers.
After the game, Simmons asked for patience.
Ben Simmons realizes he HAS to be more aggressive pic.twitter.com/O3l7AtlDFo
— Cody Mallory (@RealCodyMallory) October 7, 2022
“It’s been a year,” Simmons said. “I’m coming back. Give me some time.”
What is equally concerning about Simmons is that he doesn’t look as sharp on defense as he used to. This sequence was particularly telling:
“BeN SiMmOnS CaN PlAy CeNTeR!” pic.twitter.com/OAAT4PooIE
— ᴀᴄʜ™ (old account got suspended) (@StepbackAchV2) October 7, 2022
So you have a guy in Simmons now who refuses to take advantage of 10-inch mismatches on players like Kyle Lowry on one side of the ball and then also can’t handle the physicality on the other.
Is it any wonder Durant is frustrated?
That’s not exactly a recipe for a title run.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/4Ht5RFWWHR
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 6, 2022
Obviously if the Nets sort their issues out and getting on a winning track, all past issues will be forgotten.
Should the opposite occur, though – it could do lasting damage to both Durant’s legacy and Simmons’ reputation around the NBA.