Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn ruled Ben Simmons out for the remainder of the season on Tuesday.
Simmons has been out of Brooklyn’s lineup since the middle of February and is dealing with a nerve impingement injury in his back, according to the Nets’ Twitter. The former All Star posted career low numbers across the board this season in the 42 games that he played. Simmons averaged just 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game, and uncharacteristically came off the bench in the latest game that he played in.
The Nets are shutting down Ben Simmons for the rest of the season, head coach Jacque Vaughn announced. pic.twitter.com/AWkeZrdK75
— ESPN (@espn) March 28, 2023
Not too long ago, Simmons was a top 10 player in the NBA. His ability to score at will while attacking the basket and his passing vision set him apart from his peers. In his first couple seasons in the league, Simmons was dishing the basketball out like Magic Johnson and drove toward the basket like LeBron James.
Ben Simmons passing > pic.twitter.com/cwkUrGEldW
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 16, 2019
Ben Simmons may have had the biggest downfall in sports history pic.twitter.com/Xglw3mKG1O
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) March 25, 2023
Though he never incorporated a reliable jump shot into his arsenal, Simmons was effective on the court in more ways than one. He was well on his way to becoming an NBA legend but after his rocky breakup with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2022, his career took a serious nosedive.
Ever since Simmons forced his way out of Philadelphia, he has been a shell of himself. Though he’s been plagued with back injuries since being traded to Brooklyn, he has appeared much less engaged on the basketball court and seemingly uninterested in whether or not the Nets win or lose.
Nowadays when you watch Simmons hoop, he seems much slower than he used to be and petrified to shoot the basketball. Every time Simmons has an open shot, he elects to pass it over to somebody else. His fear of scoring the rock resulted in many ugly turnovers this season for the Nets.
Ben Simmons passes up on a layup attempt against Luke Kornet 😬 pic.twitter.com/PV3TO1TrfR
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 13, 2023
“SHOOT IT BEN!”
Kyrie Irving is begging Ben Simmons to shoot the ball 😭 pic.twitter.com/gXGlCtB4QJ
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) October 27, 2022
I’m not sure if Simmons is the latest victim of the Kardashian curse or if the Nerdlucks from Space Jam stole his basketball talents but for him to have such a falloff in such a short period of time is worrisome for the 26 year old. (RELATED: REPORT: Washington Wizards Star Bradley Beal Hit With Police Investigation After Alleged Confrontation With Fan)
Simmons has two more years left on his contract, according to ESPN. Next season, he is due to make $37.8 million and in the 2024 – 2025 NBA season he is scheduled to make over $40 million. Considering how much money Brooklyn has invested into Simmons, I’m sure they’ll keep him around for at least one more year and try to get him back to playing like the dominant player that he was for the 76ers.
With that said, if Simmons fails to step up his game and continues to play timid, I would imagine that the Nets will cut him loose into free agency before he reaches that final year of his lucrative deal.
For somebody to be making over $35 million per season and averaging under 7 points per game is a shame. If he doesn’t show glimpses of the player that he was in Philadelphia by next season, Simmons may be bounced out of the league or playing professional ball overseas come the 2025 season.
Regardless of how it all plays out, the Nets trading away James Harden for Simmons seems to have been a really dumb move for their front office.