The healthy and enthusiastic presence of Ben Simmons makes the Brooklyn Nets dangerous

When Ben Simmons’ era ended in Philadelphia, many felt it could be a win-win business for the Nets and 76ers. While James Harden was a promotion on paper for Philadelphia, an argument can be made that he and Simmons praised their new teams better than their previous teams. With Harden underperforming, and Ben Simmons never having a fit, the biggest trade deadline success was ultimately very slim last season.

Since Brooklyn’s first-round sweep at the hands of Boston, and Philadelphia’s early exit against Miami, there have been developments on every aspect of the Harden-Simmons trade. For Philly, Harden got a team friend extension that helped them boost their roster. For Brooklyn, all signs point to a healthy and motivating Ben Simmons joining their squad this season.

What has changed for Simmons?

In the latest JJ Redick podcast, Ben Simmons joined the show to discuss everything from his departure from Philly to his future in Brooklyn. When asked if the Atlanta Hawks series has doubled down on the mental health battles he was already fighting, Simmons said, “I think it was like, you know, I’m really dealing with a lot just mentally in life, as a lot of people do. But it got to the point where, after that streak, I get — from the people you’re supposed to get support from, or that comfort from, and I don’t get that either. So it was just too much. It was a burden to me.”

After confirming that his mental health battles preceded that series, Simmons admitted that the response to that loss put him in an even darker place. Realizing he needed to get it right, Simmons said he finally took the steps toward getting help, which led him to the better mental state he’s at now.

Listening to him speak, even after his mental health testimony, there is a clear level of peace with Simmons that supports his statement that he is in a better place. Being able to revisit his time in Philly, and detail some of his darkest moments, shows a level of satisfaction that would have been impossible to obtain in a poor mental state.

“I’m in a great place, and I feel comfortable talking about it now,” Simmons said.

What does recharged simmons mean to brooklyn

While addressing his mental health has truly been a priority for Ben Simmons, the three-time All-Star can now devote more focus to helping the Brooklyn Nets on court. With his mental condition receiving tremendous attention over the past year, his physical condition is often overlooked. Simmons has a back injury that wasn’t allowed to make his Nets debut last season, and he’s now feeling well, making Brooklyn a dangerous team.

While Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving underperformed in last year’s campaign against Boston, Brooklyn’s roster was undoubtedly flawed. Without a true credible center, and arguably more shaken on the flanks, Brooklyn was entirely dependent on star production from Durant and Irving. When that production went down, so did the Nets.

One of the most memorable players in the NBA, Ben Simmons fills many holes for the Brooklyn Nets. As mentioned earlier, two of Brooklyn’s glaring weaknesses last season were in the center and on the flanks. Ben Simmons assembled into a single player, plugging those two holes.

Thanks to his bounce and size, Simmons can play in the middle as many different reps as Brooklyn can. His ability to craft play makes him the perfect rolling man for Kevin Durant, especially when teams corner him at the top. Allowing Simmons to do games of short laps, with Durant or Irving as head coach, would open up endless possibilities for attacking Brooklyn.

On the other end of the ball, Ben Simmons is a two-time All-Defense member, and one of the most versatile defenders in basketball. Without an elite defender on the wing last year, Brooklyn had no answer for Jason Tatum or Jaylen Brown. As Simmons mentioned on the Redick podcast, his ability to defend the other team’s best player is something that brings incredible value, and is also something the Nets desperately need.

Feeling better physically and mentally, healthy and enthusiastic Ben Simmons can take Brooklyn to the level he envisioned when signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in 2019.

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