With former All-Star guard Ben Simmons expected to return this season, John Schuhmann of NBA.com examines how he may fit with the Nets. Brooklyn acquired Simmons in a deal with the Sixers featuring James Harden last season, but he didn’t play due to mental health concerns, both mental and physical.
The Nets will likely consider starting Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, Kevin Durant and Nicolas Claxton. That places the 6’11” Simmons at power forward, playing between Durant and Claxton. His defensive versatility and passing could allow him to play a role similar to the one Draymond Green plays in Golden State, especially given that he’ll have some of the league’s best shooters (Irving, Curry, Durant, Joe Harris and Patty Mills) around him.
Green, however, can spread the floor. He’s not a great three-point shooter, but opposing defenses have respected him enough. On the other hand, Simmons has made just five three-pointers in his career. It’ll be important for Brooklyn to play in transition this season. The team will likely feature Simmons in the dunker’s spot and play him on the ball, though it’s also possible he plays some minutes at center.
Here are some other notes from the East:
- Brian Lewis of the New York Post projects the Nets‘ rotation. As mentioned previously, Brooklyn has flexibility and could play Simmons at the four or five. The team also has weapons such as Mills, Harris, Royce O’Neale and T.J. Warren.
- Heat legend Tim Hardaway defended Kyle Lowry over allegations that he weighed too much this season, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Lowry still managed to have a respectable season, though he dealt with an injury throughout the playoffs that limited his availability and effectiveness.
- In his latest “Ask Ira” mailbag, Ira Winderman examines whether the Heat may be active ahead of the trade deadline this year. Heat president Pat Riley is known for being open to making major changes, but Miami decided to stand pat this offseason (except for losing P.J. Tucker to Philadelphia). Since Miami has multiple undersized options at power forward, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team make a trade — even though it has plenty of talent.