It’s a question not many can answer being that most NBA fans do not know what to expect from Ben Simmons who was last seen passing up a wide open lay in under the rim and choosing to hit Thybulle on a cut for a missed dunk in which he was fouled. Ben Simmons has a cocky persona he doesn’t say much most would say he is stubborn and does not want to maximize himself as a professional basketball player at the NBA level due to his refusal to shoot the basketball but I disagree. As teammate Seth Curry said Ben does not have to shoot the basketball to make the Brooklyn Nets a threat for the title this coming season, anyone who has watched Ben Simmons since his high school days would understand. While I do not want to make this article solely about Ben Simmons he is the sole reason no one is giving them a fair shot at the title this coming season, others might say it’s because them getting swept by a flawed Boston Celtics team was an abomination being that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are capable of playing at a level few can play at in the history of the NBA.
I myself expected the Boston Celtics to give the Brooklyn Nets a run for their money but it’s Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant right? You expect those 2 scoring juggernauts to figure out a way to simply overwhelm a Boston Celtics team boasting two young stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who I am quite frankly starting to give up on. I foresee Jaylen Brown leaving Boston if they don’t win the championship this coming season or the following, why stay with a franchise where your name came up in trade rumors not only at the trade deadline but after blowing the 2022 NBA Finals a few months back? Oh yeah it was never Jaylen Brown’s fault because Jayson Tatum is the one who signed a 5 year max contract and is making franchise player level money and Tatum completely bombed the Finals. Enough about Boston though the series was exciting but their run was all a fluke and them losing in the NBA Finals proved it. They caught lightning in a bottle, they had momentum heading into the playoffs which was the complete opposite for the Brooklyn Nets.
I had a vision of James Harden,Kyrie Irving,and Kevin Durant winning at least two titles together in Brooklyn with Harden and Durant splitting Finals MVP’s honors over the course of 2-3 years but once Harden was traded from Brooklyn it was like the NBA went back to normal once again. With Harden,Irving,and Durant I was feeling like the times when Durant was on the Warriors where I knew going into each one of those seasons that we were just going to have to suck it up and accept guaranteed titles were on the way whether we liked it or not but that is no longer the case with Ben Simmons now playing alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. It’s a completely different dynamic now since the Nets won’t be as hard to defend being that Ben is a liability offensively and you can sort of key in on Kyrie and Kevin and use the make someone else beat you tactic which wouldn’t be possible with 3 scorers the level of Kyrie,Kevin,and James.
Bringing over Ben Simmons was definitely a chess move being that Ben can play 1 through 4 with ease and guard every position on the court at an elite level practically. He is arguably the best defender in the league when healthy and he has never played with 2 scorers the caliber of Kyrie and Kevin. He led the Sixers on a 12 game win streak to cap off the season if I am not mistaken in Joel Embiid’s absence the 2017-2018 season and he did it with players such as Marco Belinelli,Ersan Ilyasova, and JJ Redick who all complimented his style of play being that they could score off his dribble drive passes and knock down 3 pointers at a high clip. While Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid played together in Philadelphia doubters of the former duo believed the Sixers would eventually have to face the music and choose between building a team around Ben or Joel, ultimately Philadelphia chose Joel. I’ve never been critical of Ben Simmons’s game because I understand basketball is a team game and at the end of the day Ben plays the game the right way.
This Nets roster is perfectly built around Ben Simmons, he no longer has to worry about living up to being Joel Embiid’s Kobe Bryant to Shaquille O’Neal and can now focus on being the Draymmond Green of the Brooklyn Nets. I would’ve said Scottie Pippen but Scottie was the second option behind Michael Jordan in the 90’s and did everything Ben will be tasked with this coming season which is guarding the opposing teams best player and being an orchestrator which will allow Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to focus on what they do best which is put the ball in the basket 10-20 times a night and allow Ben to get everyone on the team shots throughout games. The construction of this Brooklyn Nets team really makes a ton of sense, Seth Curry and Ben Simmons have proven they can carry teams to wins throughout the regular season so even games Kyrie and Kevin might miss this coming season the Nets will still be fairly competitive and will be able to be a possible top 3-4 team in the Eastern Conference due to the amount of wins they’ll accumulate.
I’d say they’ll be a 50-54 win team this coming season and will finish 2nd-3rd in the Eastern Conference, one it’s because Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will be playing together consistently for a full regular season barring injury to either and of course Ben Simmons will also grace the court for the first time as a Brooklyn Net. Watching the Nets these past playoffs they clearly lacked post and perimeter defense along with rebounding which is what ultimately derailed them against Boston and you’d like to think Ben will make a big impact on the team being that he is such a gifted athlete who could be used in a multitude of ways to help the team but that will all be dependent on head coach Steve Nash. For the way the league is now where versatility is a main culprit, Ben Simmons fits the bill and he is the diamond in the rough Brooklyn Nets and NBA fans around the world will grow to appreciate this coming season when they appear in the Eastern Conference Finals. I won’t pencil them in for the 2023 NBA Finals since other teams in the East have had more continuity over the past few years such as the Bucks,Celtics,and Heat but a motivated Kyrie Irvin and Kevin Durant is somethng to behold.