The 2022-23 season has not gotten off to a great start for the Brooklyn Nets, who have lost three of their first four games despite having Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons on the court for each of those games. The Nets are missing some key pieces of their rotation, but with their star trio on the floor for each of these games, Brooklyn has failed to meet expectations in quite a big way to start the season.
Irving defends Simmons’ slow start to the season
While Durant and Irving have done their best to keep the Nets competitive, Simmons hasn’t been nearly as good. Simmons’ numbers through four games (5.3 PPG, 7.5 APG, 5.8 RPG) aren’t indicative of a player who will lead Brooklyn to the promised land like he was expected to this season. Simmons has made an impact, but it’s not even close to what the Nets were expecting from him.
Many have been confused by Simmons’ slow start, as he has all the tools needed to be successful in Brooklyn. That has led to the usual slew of jokes or memes being made about Simmons, but Irving isn’t going to stand for it. Irving defended Simmons to the media and implored that they give him a chance to find his way after he didn’t suit up for the entire 2021-22 season.
Irving has Ben’s back, but Simmons needs to step up soon
It’s good to see that Irving is trying to do what he can to help Simmons out. Irving knows what it’s like to be the subject of constant attention from the media, and while he doesn’t necessarily handle that in the best way possible all the time, he has been someone Simmons can lean on as he struggles in the early going.
But Irving can only continue to justify Simmons’ poor start for so long. Simmons has already fouled out of two games and is averaging a paltry five points per game. Simmons isn’t nearly involved enough in the offense, considering he’s taking just five shots per game, but it’s going to be on him to assert himself and demand a larger shot diet, even if he’s playing alongside offensive superstars in Irving and Durant.
Simmons has made some positive contributions early, but they have been few and far between. The Nets need more, and while Irving is trying to stay positive with Simmons, it’s clear that that mindset will only last so long. Brooklyn may very well be a ticking time bomb waiting to explode, and the longer Simmons struggles, the more likely the explosion will end up being one the Nets can’t come back from this time.