March 25, 2023

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On Tuesday, the city of Philadelphia will be watching Ben Simmons like never before because he is finally back in form

4 min read
On Tuesday, the city of Philadelphia will be watching Ben Simmons like never before because he is finally back in form


After scoring 22 points, grabbing eight boards, and dishing out five assists in Sunday’s 127-115 win over the Grizzlies, Ben Simmons was asked if he thought that maybe, just maybe, enough time had passed since his Sixers departure that he might not be met with quite as much hostility in his return to Philadelphia, where the Nets are scheduled to play on Tuesday night.

Specifically, “In Philadelphia?” The witty response came from Simmons. “Now, now. It won’t surprise me.” In fact, everyone anticipates the same outcome. Whenever Simmons touches the ball, he will undoubtedly be showered with boos. At least, that’s what the news will tell you. Simmons is in for far worse treatment. A spark is going to fly in that audience. Hopefully, as the first wave of anger subsides and the crowd gets into the game, some of the sparks will go down for Simmons’s sake.

Ben Simmons

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Simmons is as prepared as he could be to return to the NBA roots that, in the eyes of Philly fans, he pulled directly from the soil, even if that doesn’t happen. As far as I can tell, Simmons seems calm and collected from the outside. But I won’t presume to know what’s going on in anybody else’s mind. Confident. So far as basketball is concerned, he ought to be. As of late, he’s been performing like the All-Star version of himself we remember.

After the Nets’ victory on Sunday, head coach Jacque Vaughn observed, “Immediately, you saw a power that he played with.” “And it was an unrelenting assault on the rim that he was making. As a result of the tempo he set for us tonight, it will be difficult for opposing players to keep up with us when we’re spraying the ball about.”

Simmons has put up 37 points, 21 rebounds, and 12 assists over his previous two games. Simmons, as Vaughn alluded to, is driving a quicker tempo by either getting the rebound and going himself or by taking the outlet pass and pushing the pace wherever he can. Against disorganized, retreating opponents, he’s able to locate open 3-point shooters. As a scorer, he is attacking the open court, transitioning into post-ups early in the game (he opened the night with a nice right-handed jump hook versus Memphis) and driving downhill and finishing through contact when opponents offer him a runway.

To create space for the handler to score, he screens and rolls aggressively in the half court, establishing himself a legitimate danger and drawing the attention of the big. On Thursday, this led to a basket for Durant in Portland.

Simmons has an open path on the flip wide because big men tend to overlook him as the roller and instead focus on Kevin Durant.


Simmons began the game at center for the Nets, but he was no match for Steven Adams, who is often considered to be the league’s strongest player. On the other hand, that’s an issue with the roster. The Nets decided with Simmons as the starting big due to the momentum he’s beginning to generate and the fact that Kyrie Irving is back in the starting lineup, despite the fact that pairing Simmons with Nic Claxton destroys the space. The plan was successful. With Simmons on the court, Brooklyn had a 19-point advantage against Memphis.

When queried about his latest epiphanies, Simmons said, “It takes time.” “To be honest, I’m simply trying to becoming more reliable at what I do. Don’t lose sight of what I can do. My capabilities are clear to me. My abilities are well-known to me. Not at all shocked by [my good performance].”

When asked whether he was shocked, Durant said, “I anticipate this from Ben.” Consequently, “I’m not going to get thrilled when he performs well.”

To rephrase: continue in this manner. Because the results of a few of games don’t matter anything. The rest of the regular season and the playoffs are crucial times for Simmons and the Nets. It’s their only shot at a championship. The focus, though, must now be on Tuesday night, when one of the most highly awaited NBA reunions in recent memory will take place live on national television (TNT, 7:30 ET). The Nets might be hitting their stride if Simmons keeps up his current performance level. While they want to make this trip strictly professional, things will not be proceeding as normal.

“The supporters in Philadelphia are fantastic; that much is certain. They are devoted Philadelphia fans. That is a great quality of the city, in my opinion. The city’s reputation as a sports mecca “- Simmons said. “I moved to Philadelphia when I was 18 years old, making it the only genuine grownup city I’ve ever called home. I have a lot of affection for that metropolis. Many of my closest friends are from Philadelphia, but no one knows it. In fact, he is still a Philadelphia resident. So, whatever occurred, whatever the [basketball] scenario was, I still have a lot of affection for that place. I plan on heading down there to play soon.”

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