ben simmons
Eric Hartline | USA TODAY Sports

During Ben Simmons’ first media appearance since the Atlanta Hawks series last playoffs and his first as a Brooklyn Net, Simmons was non-committal on when he might return. However, he said “it’s reasonable” to think he could be back by Game 4. There are multiple reports stating that Game 4 is the target date.

Simmons hasn’t played a second in a Nets uniform yet. As a result, all we can do is speculate on how head coach Steve Nash will use him. For what it’s worth, Simmons is confident about how he fits into this team.

That’s the confidence the Nets want their All-Star to portray, although it needs to translate to court eventually. I’ve argued since the trade that Simmons should fit in seamlessly, but that’s only if Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving find their scoring touch.

In a perfect Nets world, Durant and Irving will carry the scoring load while Simmons plays elite defense. His best offensive asset will be his ability to run in transition. In the fourth quarter when the game slows down, he can roll off of screens and practically live in the dunker’s spot.

Simmons gave a more detailed answer on his potential fit with the Nets:

“We’ll find out. It’s a good challenge, but I’m looking forward to it, especially playing with these guys,” Simmons said. “I think for me, my IQ is so high to play with guys like Kai, Seth, and Kev, just watching them I know how they play. I know how they want to play. For me, it’s just getting them in their spots and being a floor general. It’s exciting, I’m looking forward to it.

But the idea that Simmons will fit the Nets like a glove only exists in the abstract. In a perfect world, Simmons will be in the right situation to maximize his skillset. But this season has been anything but perfect in Brooklyn.

Do we trust Nash to successfully integrate Simmons into the rotation from a minutes and scheme perspective? Celtics coach Ime Udoka is running circles around Nash through two games.

The Nets are on the brink of elimination and even though so much has been made about Simmons coming back, it might not even matter. History tells us that if the Nets drop Game 3 and fall to 0-3 in the series, it’s over. No team in NBA history has ever successfully come back from down three games. In fact, only three teams have ever forced a Game 7.

To make matters worse for Brooklyn, Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III is ready to return from a meniscus injury per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Game 3 is a must-win for the Nets on Saturday afternoon. Anyway, here’s Ben Simmons shooting at the Nets practice facility.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.