Due to a number of ailments, Simmons played in just 42 games in the previous season.
Ben Simmons, a guard with the Brooklyn Nets, is anticipated to fully participate in training camp when it opens next week. Simmons, who played in just 42 games last season, has been given the all-clear to participate in 5-on-5 sessions, according to Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn, who made the announcement to the media on Monday.
“Pretty simple that way, which is good for me to say, and I think that fits into an exciting time for me to have this group together,” Vaughn added. “No restrictions at the beginning of the year — get to forge an identity together, get to form some relationships at the beginning of the year, get to forge a style of play, so really looking forward to the challenge and getting to training camp because of that.”
This is encouraging news for the Nets as well as for Simmons, who has had a difficult couple of seasons after leaving the Philadelphia 76ers. In 2021, Simmons asked the Sixers for a trade. He chose to forgo attending practises or games while waiting for that request to be granted, thereby skipping the whole 2021–22 campaign until being transferred to Brooklyn in February 2022.
The three-time All-Star’s first season with the Nets was supposed to be a new beginning for him, but things didn’t go as planned since Simmons didn’t look like the All-Defensive player he once was. He was playing off the bench at one point during the season before being sidelined because of a back issue. The 27-year-old Simmons averaged slightly under seven points per game, a career low.
His friendship with Vaughn is a further indication that this season may be different for Simmons than it was last year. Last season, Vaughn occasionally made postgame remarks that appeared to be intended towards Simmons, such as the time he appeared to roll his eyes when Simmons left the game due to discomfort in his knee. Vaughn, though, claims that his relationship with Simmons is now stronger.
“I think at the time I was at a place where as a coach I’m always gonna have a standard, and that standard is of what I expect guys on the team to do, how we want them to play, and ask them to do things for the sake of the team,” Vaughn said. “I believe Ben and I are in a great place in our relationship right now because we were able to talk about the time in our lives when I expected him to do things that I have since learned he was physically unable to do.
“I believe that at the time, you frequently overheard me discuss force, such things, and how I wanted him to play. Now that I’ve seen the work he’s done and the location of where he was, some of those things have been made clear to me. The things I’m going to ask him to do moving forward, however, I believe he is physically capable of doing right now, which is why I believe our relationship is in such a great place right now. Therefore, it does put us in a situation where I can employ different lines and surround him with different players so we can be successful on both sides of the floor.
For the Nets, it would be fantastic if Simmons were fully healthy. Brooklyn boasts an intriguing squad that is led by Mikal Bridges, whose career started to rise after being moved to the Nets in the Durant trade. Despite losing two huge talents to trades last season in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn still has a competitive group. Brooklyn should once again be a contender for a playoff spot if Simmons resembles the Philadelphia version we saw, where he was a lockdown defender, a threat going downhill, and an outstanding facilitator.