Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons, who was acquired last season at the trade deadline in a blockbuster deal involving James Harden but didn’t play a game with the team, made his debut in the 2022-23 NBA season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans. It was quite forgettable, especially for a player making $35 million and under contract for two more seasons.
Simmons fouled out of the contest after playing 23 minutes. He finished with four points, five assists and five rebounds and was a -26. The Nets looked lost for much of this game, especially defensively. That’s something Simmons was supposed to help with, and something his backers pointed at as a sign of superstardom potential. So far, it’s not been a great start.
It is clear there’s still some tension in this group from the summer, when Kevin Durant requested a trade and Kyrie Irving tried to seek one out. Simmons will need time to make things work with the two stars. He’s not going to put up big numbers offensively but hopefully for Brooklyn’s sake his defensive chops return.