Ben Simmons’ return for the 2022-2023 NBA season was highly anticipated, especially after the former No. 1 overall draft pick missed the previous season due to injury, mental health struggles and trade demands. Yet, his contributions to the Brooklyn Nets’ stat-lines have been underwhelming at best, leading teammates and members of the organization to question his passion for the game.
Through 10 games played during the 2022-2023 NBA regular season, Simmons is averaging 5.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, and 5.6 apg. The Nets, who suffered a 153-121 loss against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night (Nov. 15), are currently 6-9 for the season.
According to a report by Shams Charania & Sam Amick of The Athletic, Simmons’ sporadic playing time, limitations on offense, and overall disposition have given pause regarding the 26-year-old’s internal mettle. “The frustration surrounding Simmons had been building in recent weeks within the organization,” Charania wrote, citing anonymous sources within the Nets organization.
“The coaching staff and players have been concerned about his availability and level of play, with some questioning his passion for the game, those sources said. But even when he did play, Simmons’ struggles in his first nine games this season were part of the Nets frustration as well.”
Simmons, who joined the Nets in February 2022 after being traded by the Philadelphia 76ers, has been subjected to criticism since the Sixers’ 2021 NBA Playoff matchup against the Atlanta Hawks.
Maligned for his hesitance on the offensive end, Simmons demanded a trade from the team, ultimately departing the organization without suiting up for another game. He previously cited struggles with his mental health for his inability to play for the 76ers, and failed to take the court with his new team due to a lingering back issue.
The Nets are scheduled to play the Trail Blazers in Portland on Thursday, Nov. 17.