With the 2022-23 NBA season right around the corner, many have no clue what to expect from the Brooklyn Nets. A lot of that will have to do with how Ben Simmons returns and fits with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Simmons has been in the news recently, not simply because of his game on the court, but also his opinion of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal off the court.
O’Neal has always been open and free with criticism, as well as talking about who he likes in the league. One thing that connects O’Neal with Simmons would be the fact that they both played at LSU in college.
In a recent quote, Simmons took a brutal shot at O’Neal and basically called the legendary big man fake.
“He always wants to say were LSU brothers, this and that. If you’re my LSU brother you would have reached out by now.”
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Granted, there is definite truth in what Simmons had to say. O’Neal not reaching out during the hard times would be a rightful reason for Simmons to be angry. Whether or not O’Neal actually has any kind of hostility or kindness towards Simmons remains to be seen.
Either way, the Nets need Simmons back on the court in a big way. He didn’t play a single game with the team after being acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in the trade that sent James Harden packing. How Simmons looks in his return will likely decide whether the Nets are legitimate NBA Finals contenders or not.
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Back in the 2020-21 season with the 76ers, Simmons averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He struggled and took a lot of heat in the playoffs, but there is no question he can make a major impact on a game. The Nets need him to come out with confidence and to fit nicely alongside Durant and Irving.
Expect to continue to see the media being rough on Ben Simmons moving forward. It will be interesting to see if Shaquille O’Neal has anything to say about these comments from his “LSU brother.”