NBA

Steve Nash doesn't care if Ben Simmons ever shoots for Nets

By Sports Desk September 28, 2022

The way Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash sees it, it does not matter if Ben Simmons ever takes a shot for his team because he does so many other things well.

Two-time NBA All-Defensive First Teamer Simmons is set to make his debut for the Nets this season after he missed all last season while waiting for a trade out of Philadelphia and then dealing with rehab from back surgery as well as ongoing mental health issues.

"Very unique," Nash said of Simmons after the second full practice of training camp on Wednesday. "That's what makes Ben great.

"That's why I don't care if he ever shoots a jump shot for the Brooklyn Nets. He's welcome to, but that is not what makes him special and not what we need. He's a great complement to our team, and he's an incredible basketball player because of his versatility."

The Nets have the luxury of having two standout scorers on their roster in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, which should allow Simmons to play a more wide-ranging role.

"I think they'll have a certain element of cohesion out of the gates," Nash said of his star trio. "Because they're all really good basketball players, but hopefully it's something that evolves. And they can continue to find ways to make each other better. I think that's the beauty, that they actually fit really well together, but it may take time."

With Durant and Irving handling the bulk of the offense, Simmons will be free to focus on defense and rebounding while creating open looks for his star teammates.

"You're playing with some great NBA players, some of the greatest," Simmons said. "So, for me, it's just playing alongside them, figuring out where they want their shots, how they move, different spots on the floor where I need to be. It's just timing."

Simmons' career 8.1 rebounds per game should benefit the Nets, who lost one of the league's best rebounding guards when James Harden was dealt to the 76ers.

"He helps us for sure defensively, rebounding," Nash said. "And not only the talent he has, but also just size. Overall team size is something we struggled with."

Nash said he wouldn't have a problem giving the 6-foot-10, 230-pound Simmons minutes at centre when the situation calls for it.

"If he's the 'lone big,' that's a role we would definitely play him at," he said. "But he's also our playmaker and point guard."

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