The Brooklyn Nets proved this past week that they did not need James Harden in order to succeed.
In the first match-up between Brooklyn and the Philadelphia 76ers after that now-infamous trade, the Nets destroyed the home team on their own floor.
Unfortunately, they had to do it without the key piece they got back in that Harden trade – Ben Simmons.
More than a week ago, Nets general manager Sean Marks suggested that Simmons’ return to the court was imminent. On Saturday it was revealed that the star guard isn’t anywhere remotely close to that.
“He’s not ready for even one-on-one, let alone three-on-three, five-on-five,” Nash said, per the New York Post. “So he’s got to get to a place where he can go full speed unopposed, one-on-oh, and then we’ll talk about and hopefully quickly he can go to one-on-one, three-on-three, five-on-five.”
Nash also accidentally seemed to let it slip that Simmons suffered a “setback” with the lingering back issue that had been bogging him down.
“Yeah, a little setback, whatever that was,” Nash said.
“So now we’re just trying to make sure we get that in the bag before we rush him out there and suffer a longer setback.”
Simmons has been out of action for nine months now between his longstanding dispute with the 76ers and now the back thing. Obviously he has suffered huge monetarily through all this, but there are also lingering questions regarding precisely where he is as a player, too.
It’s hard to not be playing any truly competitive basketball for such a long period of time, only to then be thrust into the playoffs.
This is a guy who collapsed in the playoffs last year while healthy. Is he really going to be able to be a valuable contributor to Brooklyn after such a long layoff?
Yikes. Horrific. https://t.co/kR6Yev06NN
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 12, 2022
Time will tell.
Nash has been very honest about Simmons throughout this entire process, right down to how he has spoken about the Sixers star’s shooting woes. There is no reason to assume he isn’t being totally truthful about his health status as well.
When will Simmons finally return to the court? Time will tell.