The Brooklyn Nets are heading into arguably the most critical year any NBA franchise has ever faced.
Head coach Steve Nash is coaching for his job, first and foremost. It is an open secret that players don’t particularly like or respect him, but a successful 2022-23 season could still save him.
And a lot of that potential success hinges on Ben Simmons returning after a season away from basketball continuing to look like the All-Star that he once was.
Simmons’ biggest problem, even when he was at his best, was his shooting.
This week, video emerged of him working on that aspect of his game.
Ben Simmons shooting 3s at practice. pic.twitter.com/uK3G2RSsPA
— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer) September 27, 2022
Ben Simmons shooting jumpers during 1st day of Nets training camp pic.twitter.com/xQIUfSMiLT
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) September 27, 2022
Understandably, Nash was asked about his thoughts on Simmons’ shooting during a recent session with the media.
The Nets coach did his best to put a positive spin on things.
“Very unique,” Nash said in regards to his new player’s skillset, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. “That’s what makes Ben great. That’s why I don’t care if he ever shoots a jump shot for the Brooklyn Nets.
“He’s welcome to, but that is not what makes him special and not what we need. He’s a great complement to our team, and he’s an incredible basketball player because of his versatility.”
That all sounds well and good, but the reality is everyone has already seen what happens when a player is terrified to shoot. It’s what led to Simmons’ departure from Philly. Eventually, teams will test you – and you’ll either take advantage or you won’t.
Simmons has been in the headlines far more this summer for his provocative photos with his on-again, off-again girlfriend than any substantive basketball work. Well, that and being called out by guys around the NBA for his purported lies.
It will be fascinating to see what he looks like next season.
Tom Brady’s teammates are over it.https://t.co/gzjn4XLAYd
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 29, 2022
Obviously if Simmons comes back strong and the Nets are a force in 2022-23, all past issues will be water under the bridge. No one will care.
If the opposite occurs, though – then things will get dicey. Nash will be the first domino to drop. But after that, Simmons’ career could take a turn that he will never be able to recover from.