Nets Notes: Simmons, Mills, Durant, Curry, Nash

The Nets don’t know when Ben Simmons will be available, but Patty Mills expects him to make an immediate impact whenever he does come back, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Simmons hasn’t played yet this season due to a standoff with Sixers management, mental health issues and soreness in his back, but Mills believes he’ll be a difference maker.

“He’s going to be a threat either way,” Mills said. “On ball, off ball — whether he’s handling the ball, whether he’s off the ball as a screener, I think he’s such a threat that he’s going to draw a lot of attention. So I think given his IQ and the way he can pass the ball and handle the ball, that makes us better at his bare minimum. So, obviously, where he’s the biggest threat is in an open-court situation with people, especially shooters around him. But, like I said, a bare-minimum Ben Simmons makes this team a whole lot better as well.”

General manager Sean Marks said this week there’s “no real timetable” for Simmons to resume playing, although it will likely be two more weeks at minimum. Simmons hasn’t participated in a full practice since the February 10 trade that brought him from Philadelphia, but Mills said he has been able to learn from his new teammates while sidelined.

“We’re doing a lot of talking,” Mills said. “A lot of conversations, meaning the group, a lot of film, a lot of walk-through stuff. So he’s there for all of it; he’s there for the entire practice. And then he’s doing his part with his shooting coach and physio and whatever that looks like. But as far as every team thing goes, he’s at everything.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Even though the Nets lost Thursday in Kevin Durant‘s first game back after being injured, he offered some hope with a 31-point performance, per Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post. Durant said a total team effort will be needed to turn around the season, adding, “I don’t look at myself as that — as a savior.” 
  • Nets guard Seth Curry shares his memories of playing for retiring Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski in a lengthy interview with Steve Serby of The New York Post. Curry also touches on a few NBA topics, such as the difficulty he had breaking into the league, what it’s like to play alongside Durant and Kyrie Irving and Brooklyn’s playoff prospects after a second-half slide. “We put ourself in a tough situation with the play-in game, but we still like our chances against anybody in the league,” Curry said. “… Our sense of urgency is trying to fit together and figure out the way we’re gonna play when we do get in that play-in game and then hopefully into the playoffs.”
  • Steve Nash will be available to coach Sunday against the Celtics after clearing the health and safety protocols, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
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