Ben Simmons’ impact on the Brooklyn Nets, respect, sick play, stats, performance, Kevin Durant

Ben Simmons’ impact on the Brooklyn Nets, respect, sick play, stats, performance, Kevin Durant
Ben Simmons’ impact on the Brooklyn Nets, respect, sick play, stats, performance, Kevin Durant

From the day Jacque Vaughn took over the Nets, they’ve been as good as any team in the league.

And from then on, Ben Simmons has in his own way been as impactful as any player on the roster.

The Nets are 22-7 since Vaughn replaced Steve Nash on Nov. 1. And while Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s scoring led the way offensively, Simmons’ contributions — free throws aside — were understated and understated.

But not unnoticed.

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Tuesday, January 3

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His plus-11.1 net rating under Vaughn is the best on the team. After shrugging off an early season malaise, Simmons looked more confident and explosive.

“It’s both,” Simmons said. “Over time, you just have to adapt, learn to play with these guys, know who to shoot, when to shoot, be aggressive.

“And then defensively, being more confident and sitting down and getting into my position and moving. Once I have the confidence to move with my body, I feel like I can do a lot to help the team win.

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That’s exactly what Simmons has done, with the Nets 16-4 when he’s been playing since Nov. 1. In their NBA best 11-game winning streak, he defended, rebounded, pushed the tempo, created in the half court and did everything but free kick. throws (0 for 9).

And Vaughn sees the push as being both physical and mental.

“That’s it,” Vaughn said. “When your body feels good and your mind can say, ‘OK, yeah, my body feels good’, then you’re able to do certain things, whether it’s picking up the pace and transforming that in a lay-up, whether after and being aggressive and physical when hitting the post and reaching for the rim. Then seeing what the bands he plays with was huge.

“So it gave him a good place to develop his game and feel comfortable on the pitch. All athletes want to feel comfortable and confident in what they are doing.

Ben Simmons drives to the basket during the game against the Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

But that lack of comfort made Saturday’s effort even more heartening than the quiet two points in 19 minutes would suggest.

Simmons was battling a non-COVID illness, downgraded to questionable. But amid predictable social media, he pushed and played.

“It’s a huge sign for your teammates, showing up so your teammates are ready to rumble,” Vaughn said.

“You’re not going to be 100% all the time. … For Ben, going through treatment and working to try to play means a lot to the band. This goes a long way when it comes to accountability to your teammate. So that definitely means something for sure.

Simmons said, “I just wanted to be on the floor. Anything I can give my teammates, I’m going to give them, whether it’s two minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, I want to be there to help this team win.

“We’ve been doing something special so far, we’ve got great chemistry and the guys just want to win. It’s all that matters.”

Ben Simmons guards LaMelo Ball while sick in Brooklyn’s New Year’s Eve win over Charlotte. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP)Source: AFP

In the wake of the Nets trading former MVP James Harden for him, Simmons missed last season due to mental health issues and back pain. He was publicly pilloried and there were even internal grumblings when he sat out Game 4 do-or-die last season against Boston, and missed more time at the start of this season.

Seeing it empty until Saturday was a sign of good omen.

” It is really encouraging. Anytime one of your teammates is willing to put their body on the line for you, you don’t take them for granted because they’re obviously putting themselves in danger,” Irving said.

“He’s sick, he’s not feeling well, but he felt a call to play and honored it.”

Durant added: “That says a lot. Someone who wanted to end the year with us, down and sick, but was able to come out and give us a few good minutes and we really appreciate that,”

“We know you’re not up to it, but you still want to give a push to go play. That says a lot. No matter how many minutes he played or the stats, he always came out and played hard, so we respect that.

This article originally appeared in the New York Post and has been republished with permission.

. Impact Ben Simmons on Brooklyn Nets respect game sick stats performance Kevin Durant

. Ben Simmons impact Brooklyn Nets respect sick play stats performance Kevin Durant

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