The 2021-22 season is one the Brooklyn Nets and Ben Simmons would like to forget as quickly as possible. The Nets were swept by the Boston Celtics on Monday night, but that was after it was revealed Simmons would not make an appearance in the series as was earlier reported. The ambiguity around the Simmons situation has drawn ire from the collective hot take artists in basketball media, including Kendrick Perkins, who likened Simmons to a single girl that smokes cigarettes.
“Ben Simmons is that pretty girl that’s single, and everybody’s wondering why she’s single,” Perkins said. “She’s single because she smokes cigarettes. That’s who Ben Simmons is. The single girl that smokes cigarettes. Newport shorts at that.”
Nah 😭😭😭😭😭 Perk got it with this one RT @Covers: Kendrick Perkins on Ben Simmons this morning: “She’s that pretty girl who’s single. Everyone wants to know why she’s single. The reason she’s single is because she smokes cigarettes.” 🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/KXIU8BH4LF
— Kipe (@Mr_NovembersOwn) April 26, 2022
When we last saw Simmons on a basketball court he was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers having a poor playoff series in the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals. That led to a summer of trade demands from Simmons, refusing to attend training camp, citing mental health issues as to why he wasn’t able to play this season.
Simmons was traded to the Nets in February as part of the blockbuster James Harden deal. The plan all along was to ramp Simmons up physically, continue providing resources to support his mental health, and he would make his debut at some point this season.
His back issue flared up, he had to take an epidural, and it pushed his entire ramp-up schedule back.
Once this happened the Nets should have shut down all speculation of Simmons returning at all this season. The idea that a player who last played a year ago, would just jump into a high intensity playoff series was always ludicrous.
Simmons and his agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, spoke with Nets leadership on Monday about the physical and mental hurdles remaining in the All-Star’s ability to play. However, team Simmons continues to make it clear to that he is committed to the Nets, and wants to get on the floor as soon as possible and contribute.
The problem is whatever the issues Simmons is dealing with doesn’t matter to most fans and hot take artists like Perkins. All they see is a player with three years and $114 million left on his contract that isn’t playing. That is an affront to most fans, and it’s catnip for the hot take economy.
While Perkins’ analogy is very clumsy and awkward, you can grasp the sentiment.
Simmons possesses all the elite physical tools to be a dominant basketball player. He’s 6-foot-11 and an incredible athlete. He is an elite defender that can switch one through five. He can handle and playmake. He could be, if he was willing to put in the time, a supersized version of Draymond Green. The ultimate ceiling-raiser.
But it’s all potential. We’ve only seen glimpses of it, and nothing fully realized. Will that day ever come?
The Nets believe in Simmons or they wouldn’t have made the move, and they are committed to getting him to that place. But he has to be the leading participant in the determination of his future.