Ben Simmons resembled his All-Star self in his return from injury during the Nets’ blowout win over the Jazz.
Ben Simmons garnered much hype heading into the 2023-24 campaign after resembling more of his younger self in preseason. However, that didn’t last too long. Simmons only played in six of the Brooklyn Nets‘ first seven games of the season before heading towards the injured list after his back issues flared up. After a long recovery period that involved plenty of medical procedures to ease the pain, Simmons finally returned to the hardwood on January 29 in a home game against the Utah Jazz.
Given that Simmons has missed the past 38 games for the Nets (spanning nearly three months), it was unclear what to expect of the former All-Star. He was on a minutes restriction as well, so there were plenty of questions as to just how impactful he would be upon his return. But it seems as though his injury rehab has done him wonders. In just 18 minutes of play, Simmons dropped 10 points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists — setting the pace for a high-octane Nets offense in a 147-114 win over the Jazz.
Talent has never been the issue for Ben Simmons. Over the past three seasons now, a combination of confidence issues and health problems have contributed to the Nets forward’s decline in production. But if he has truly put his back problems in the rearview mirror, then he may soon match the hype he’s generating with such an electric return to the hardwood.
Simmons looked like his Philadelphia 76ers All-Star self, rampaging to the rim and finding open shooters due to the pressure he creates on the opposing basket. Nets fans are loving the fact that they’re seeing him be more assertive, which may be a sign that he has increased trust that his body will hold up.
“I want to see this Ben Simmons more. The guy has it when he’s going,” @samwlodawski wrote on Twitter (X). Wrote @NetsKingdomAJ: “When he plays like this [aggressive] to the rim & playmakes as a lead PG he really impacts the team at a high level.”
Nets fans will be hoping that from here on out, this becomes the norm for Simmons, rather than the outlier.