Ben Simmons Embraces Idea Of Playing Center For Brooklyn Nets

Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

The 2021-22 season was a forgettable one for Ben Simmons. He caught a lot of flak following the Philadelphia 76ers being eliminated in the second round of the 2021 NBA Postseason by the Atlanta Hawks as he was pinpointed as the scapegoat by many. 

That led to a trade request being made by Simmons, but he had to wait months for a resolution. The request came in July but Simmons was not traded until the deadline in February, as he ended up with the Brooklyn Nets as part of the James Harden blockbuster deal.

Simmons ended up not playing in a single game for the Nets, either. He was overcoming some mental health issues he was battling but also had a back ailment that required surgery.

Now healthy and cleared to play again, Simmons is looking to get back out there on the court.

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Brooklyn is certainly happy to have him. While a lot of the focus this offseason has been on him looking to improve his jump shot and take more 3-pointers, Nets head coach Steve Nash is confident he can help them win games even if never attempts a jump shot.

“Very unique,” Nash said of Simmons after the second full practice of training camp on Wednesday. “That’s what makes Ben great. That’s why I don’t care if he ever shoots a jump shot for the Brooklyn Nets. He’s welcome to, but that is not what makes him special and not what we need. He’s a great complement to our team, and he’s an incredible basketball player because of his versatility.”

Where that versatility is most useful is on the defensive end of the court. Simmons’ ability to defend every position on the court with success is not something many players are capable of. He is as capable of chasing around a point guard as he is of defending a wing on the perimeter or banging with big men down low.

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While nothing is set in stone yet, there is a chance that Simmons will be deployed at the center position with the Nets. He spent most of his time with the 76ers as the lead ball-handler, but playing as the lone big man is a role that he is willing to embrace.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Simmons said. “I’ll play wherever the team needs me to play, whatever helps. I can guard 1 to 5, play 1 to 5. I think it’s just one of those things where we have so many different talents on this team, you could put me anywhere to help get points, get stops, whatever it is. … I love playing the 5, I don’t mind.”

That would give the Nets a distinct advantage if Simmons operated from the center position. Given his playmaking abilities, Nash can devise unique schemes with Simmons deployed in different areas of the court to stretch the opposing defense and put them in precarious situations.

LATEST NBA NEWS: Ben Simmons & Brooklyn Nets Updates

When operating at their highest levels, a Big 3 of Simmons, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are going to be difficult to beat. The Nets certainly hope they can play together more than their other attempt at a Big 3 with James Harden, as he played only 16 games with Durant and Irving.