The Ben Simmons news cycle never sleeps. He could be shooting a basketball one day, dunking another, and “ramping up” the next. This time, Simmons is playing four-on-four against his Brooklyn Nets teammates in practice.
— sarah kustok (@sarahkustok) April 19, 2022
A return in Game 2 is off the table, but it feels like Simmons is trending in the right direction. There have been encouraging reports surfacing as of late, but it’s almost impossible to separate fact from fiction.
Since the blockbuster deal that brought Ben Simmons to Brooklyn, he’s yet to play in a game. However, the dribs and drabs of Simmons rumors have been steady since his arrival:
- April 1st — “resumed light on-court duties”
- April 2nd — files grievance against the Sixers
- April 4th — shoots free throws
- April 11th — could play in a first-round series
- April 12th — “walking around like he’s Michael Jordan”
- April 14th — hopes to be playing five-on-five by the end of the week
Needless to say, Simmons wasn’t playing five-on-five by the end of last week. He’s up to four-on-four scrimmaging now, which seems like a positive sign, but again, who knows what to believe with Simmons?
Every basketball fan should want Simmons to play. Nets fans want to see him on the court to aid in a championship run. Opposing fans should be encouraging his return so they can heckle him.
The Nets could use Simmons on the court. His return would give Nets coach Steve Nash another long, versatile defender who can guard the point of attack. Nic Claxton was regularly matched up on Jayson Tatum in Game 1. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Simmons cover Tatum or Jaylen Brown if he returns.
Whatever Simmons can give offensively will be an added bonus. Although Kyrie Irving is caught up in a pissing contest with Celtics fans, he’s playing some of the best basketball of his career this season. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant was out of sync in Game 1, but it’s almost a guarantee that he will find his stroke at some point this series.
Sidenote: Three-on-three in the halfcourt is the best way to play pickup basketball, but four-on-four in the fullcourt beats five-on-five. Having five guys on a team means you are much more likely to have a chucker who doesn’t pass or cut. A little extra running is worth it. Just my two cents.