The Brooklyn Nets 2022-23 season did not open the way anyone expected, as they were blown out of the water by the New Orleans Pelicans. The Nets lost by a final score of 130-108 and never threatened to beat an upstart Pelicans team. It was a concerning start to the season for Brooklyn, and it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from this disappointing season opener.
Stephen A. Smith did not like what he saw from Simmons in his Nets debut
Pretty much everyone on the Nets had a bad game, with Kevin Durant really being the only player that put together a respectable performance in this one. Arguably the worst player on the court for the Nets was Ben Simmons, their trade deadline acquisition from last season who was only making his debut on Wednesday night. Simmons finished with just four points, five rebounds, and five assists before fouling out early in the fourth quarter.
Not many Nets fans were happy with Simmons' performance, and for good reason. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith ripped Simmons the day after his debut, saying he looked awful and was a complete nonfactor for the Nets in this one. It may seem a bit harsh, considering it was Simmons' first real NBA game in over a year, but it was pretty much what most NBA fans were thinking after watching Simmons in this game.
"Ben Simmons was awful last night, no factor whatsoever. Plagued by foul trouble to some degree. Didn't seem ready to go. And he only attempted one shot in the first three quarters, which also didn't help matters at all. You don't have to shoot jumpshots, but you are supposed to be a playmaker, and you weren't doing that." - Stephen A. Smith, ESPN
Stephen A. Smith's criticism of Simmons is valid
Smith doesn't completely erupt on Simmons like we have seen him do in the past, but he does make a good point in saying that Simmons looked like a complete nonfactor in this game. He largely blended in, which isn't the worst thing if you are one of the last guys coming off the bench, but it is bad when you are expected to be one of the stars of the team.
Simmons isn't totally at fault for this loss, but his inability to do, well, anything against the Pelicans certainly hurt. He will need to be a dynamic two-way player who can help open things up for Durant and Kyrie Irving. Instead, the Nets' offense ran through Durant and Irving, with Simmons struggling to make his mark on the game.
That will have to change in the future if the Nets want to win. Brooklyn invested a ton in bringing Simmons over last season, and so far, the return has been disappointing, to say the least. It's still early in Simmons' tenure with the Nets, but expectations for him and his team are high, and while it is just one game, it remains to be seen whether or not Brooklyn can reach those expectations.