Ben Simmons (finally) makes his Nets debut: ‘It’s good to be back out there’

BROOKLYN — For the first time in 471 days, Ben Simmons played in a professional basketball game Monday night. For a team he had never played for before. To a situation in which he still has no normalcy.

It was a momentous return with modest stakes. Simmons, once the present and future of the Philadelphia 76ers, had not played a competitive game since June 20, 2021, when he and the 76ers lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, causing a split between the star and the organization, leading to a chaotic one Split in a trade to the Brooklyn Nets mid-last season.

Meanwhile, Simmons hasn’t played a single game due to mental health issues and a back condition that kept him from a playoff return last April. The countdown to his return began on Monday. He played 19 minutes in the Nets’ 127-108 loss last season and spoke alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as Brooklyn set up the troika she hopes will carry the Nets to an NBA title this season can lead.

Simmons was sometimes impressive and sometimes lackluster; The most important thing was that he was anything at all. It’s been so long since he’s been in a game that even preseason minutes have become remarkable.

He scored six points and marked his return with a right-handed dunk in transition for his first points back. This drew chants of his name from the crowd. Simmons also had five assists and four rebounds.

https://theathletic.com/3654537/2022/10/03/ben-simmons-finally-makes-his-nets-debut-its-good-to-be-back-out-there/?source=rss Ben Simmons (finally) makes his Nets debut: ‘It’s good to be back out there’

John Verrall

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