Ever since the superstar duo first suited up together for the 2020-21 season, many people around the league felt the Nets could or would become the NBA’s next transcendent team.
It looked like all that potential would go unrealized earlier this summer when Durant asked to be traded and Irving was involved in trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers, but it looks like both of them have re-committed themselves to the team and to each other.
Aside from his excellence on the defensive end, Simmons will give Brooklyn a fast-breaking dimension and up-tempo thrust it hasn’t really had before.
If Simmons is fully committed to the role head coach Steve Nash asks him to play, many feel the Nets could become a dynamite fast-breaking team.
Showtime In Brooklyn?
In the 1980s, the Lakers won five NBA championships and grew into arguably the greatest team in league history thanks to their withering transition game.
That fast break, as well as the era in general and its zeitgeist, became known as “Showtime.”
In many ways, it was a preview of how NBA basketball is played today, as L.A. had lots of length up and down the roster, not to mention speed and athleticism.
Today’s NBA is all about wing players, and the Nets now have plenty of wings who can get things done on both ends on the floor.
Simmons is a wild card, as he has mostly played point guard so far in his career, but he can play, at least in theory all five positions.
Nash said as much shortly after his team was swept in the first round of the playoffs in May by the Boston Celtics.
Nets HC Steve Nash says he sees Ben Simmons as both a point guard and center and other positions. Nash said Simmons will facilitate at times and spend times in a more ‘positionless” role.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) May 11, 2022
“I think he plays both [point guard and point forward],” Nash said. “I think he’s going to handle the ball, initiate offense, particularly in transition. He’s an incredible playmaker, but we have the luxury that Ben can also be a roller, playmaker out of the pick and roll. … He will also sometimes be the center.”
If Simmons is a full-time point guard, and if he is consistently aggressive in pushing the ball upcourt, it will give Durant, Irving and others plenty of easy baskets, as well as lots of easy baskets for himself.
Ben Simmons: The Fast Break King👑
— Sixers Nation (@PHLSixersNation) November 10, 2020
The potential is there for the Nets to average 120 points a game, or at least come close.
The Big Question With Simmons
Of course, any discussion about Simmons has to inevitably turn to his mental and emotional state.
After Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers said he wasn’t sure if Simmons could be the point guard on a championship team in 2021, the Louisiana State University product demanded a trade, cut off almost all communication with the team and refused to report to training camp.
After being traded to Brooklyn, he still didn’t suit up after having back surgery, but he also claimed he was dealing with a mental health issue.
Going back to before he was drafted, there have always been questions about Simmons’ aggressiveness, commitment and overall mental makeup.
Nash will have a tough task ahead of him in terms of keeping Simmons focused, motivated and committed to basketball.
But if Simmons stays focused, motivated and committed, he could become the catalyst for arguably the NBA’s most explosive team.