The Brooklyn Nets are easily the most mysterious team heading into the new season. The talent is there, but the question marks linger.
Can they compensate for Ben Simmons’ inability to shoot from the perimeter and the free-throw line? Can Kyrie Irving stay healthy? Can they overcome their lack of size? Will Simmons at center work?
The Nets have plenty of skeptics, but Irving has publicly assured Simmons everything will be just fine.
“Anytime somebody comes back it’s gonna take some time.” Irving told reporters after Simmons preseason debut. “What our responsibility is as teammates for him is just to make the game easier. I was telling him at halftime when you’re playing with some high-level players, despite what you heard, we’re going to make the game easy for you.
“He’s gonna love playing with us. He’s gonna love getting up and down the floor with us. For him to be out there for his first day and for us to experience it with him, it’s something we can remember for the rest of the season as something that we got through. Since day one, highly-anticipated and glad it went his way tonight on some easy baskets. He made some great plays but obviously he has ways to go before he gets to feeling like his true self.”
Simmons had his moments in the Nets’ preseason opener against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.
He finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists in 19 minutes, but was still the subject of ridicule after missing his only two free throws and severely botching a turnaround jumper.
It’s safe to say Simmons will have to a show a lot more to silence his doubters. But at least for now he has Irving in his corner.