The Brooklyn Nets went through a lot of ups and downs this summer.
At one point it looked like both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would be traded. Now, just weeks before the new NBA season commences, both men are firmly entrenched as cornerstones of the franchise.
One other interesting side plot everyone is keeping on eye heading into the 2022-23 campaign is how Ben Simmons will fit alongside Durant and Irving.
This week, in a session with the media, Irving gave his honest thoughts on the subject.
“That level of talent, and IQ and motivation and drive — anything’s possible,” Irving said, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. “He has that ‘it’ inside of him so now we just have to slowly develop him where he knows that he can just go out there and be himself.
“We want him to be his highest potential of himself As a player, be able to accomplish things out on the floor that he wasn’t able to do the last few years. And just have some fun being at peace around him.”
Simmons’ role on the Nets has been a popular part of conversation surrounding the team this week. Head coach Steve Nash also caused waves when he spoke bluntly regarding Simmons’ past shooting woes.
A lot of Simmons’ fortunes next year will also ride on his mental health. He has dealt with some notable issues over the past year, and more criticism will inevitably follow.
The reaction Simmons got at the 2022 U.S. Open was telling. There will be a lot more booing going forward.
How will Simmons deal with it?
Baker’s wife is having a more impressive season so far. https://t.co/mALMmhDUB0
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 30, 2022
Next year is going to be a big one for Irving, Simmons and the Nets as a whole.
If they win a championship, or come to close to it, a lot of last season’s woes will be water under the bridge.
Should they struggle again, though – it will irreparable damage to the legacies of all parties involved.