It’s still preseason, but seeing Ben Simmons on the court in full flight on Monday was certainly encouraging.
The Nets went down to the Lakers 129-126.
Though Simmons looked healthier than he’s been in a long time, after nerve injury in his back derailed his entire 2022-23 season.
The point guard recorded 10 points three assists and a steal in 14 minutes during the first half in his first basketball game in eight months.
And he didn’t just look great, he also felt it.
“[It felt] amazing,” Simmons said. “That’s really it, just amazing. Happy to be out there, and compete, and feel good out there and able to contribute like I know how I can. So I felt great. It’s the best in two years for sure. Definitely.”
Nets head coach Jacques Vaughn was also pleased with the three-time All-Star’s performance.
“He attacked the rim, I think he played with pace, looked pretty natural out there getting up and down the floor, communicating with guys into the flow of the game,” Vaughn said. “Really good to see. So, some really good minutes.”
Simmons got as high as he’s ever been on a dunk as a Net and on his second touch of the ball, took LeBron off the dribble and scored a driving layup.
“Very encouraging,” Vaughn continued. “In the past, of some of the things he’s been able to do, and some of that, the behind-the-back, that’s part of his game. I understand that. And the pace that he plays with, unscripted and having a flair in the flow to his game, those things we want him to get back to doing was instinctive basketball. I think you saw some of that, and definitely a positive direction for him.”
Young talent Cam Thomas also had a good night, and went bucket for bucket with Austin Reaves at one point.
If Simmons can jell with players like Thomas and Nic Claxton, Brooklyn should be able to become a legitimate threat.
Simmons definitely gave the Nets fans something to be excited about this season.