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Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons hopes to play vs. the Boston Celtics in their playoff series.
Simmons has not played in an NBA game that mattered since his former team in the Philadelphia 76ers lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the under-seeded Atlanta Hawks. Sidelined with a bad back, among other things, Simmons came to Brooklyn by way of the James Harden trade with Philadelphia. If the Nets are going to advance any further, they need Simmons to play.
The idea is that Simmons will be making his Nets debut at a later point in this first-round series. He has not felt any pain in his back in a week or so. Just look at him playing above the rim in Nets practice recently. The guy is so close to getting back on the hardwood in front of the Brooklyn faithful.
Ben Simmons injury update: Will Brooklyn Nets star play vs. Boston Celtics?
The good news for the Nets is they already have two of the best players in basketball in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. They have made it through the play-in tournament and pose a very difficult first-round matchup vs. the rival Celtics. Frankly, Simmons may not be able to contribute more than a few minutes here and there in the postseason, but every precious minute adds up.
The Nets do not need him to get buckets, as Durant and Irving can do that. What will serve Brooklyn is for Simmons to be the elite ball distributor he has been since coming out of LSU. If he is up for it, he can provide some of his patented lockdown defense out on the wing. His length and commitment to that end of the floor are a big reason the Nets were okay with trading Harden.
Ultimately, Simmons’ return to the lineup is not all that much about this postseason, but more of a sneak preview of what the Nets can be next year. Of course, if the Nets get past the Celtics in their best-of-seven series and look good in their supposed Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup, then by all means, let’s see what the guy can do, as the Nets push towards their first league title.
No, it would not be shocking if Simmons makes his Nets debut in either Game 3 or 4 of this series.