Ben Simmons has not done much to positively impact the Brooklyn Nets through three games as Comeback SZN hits a bit of early black ice. It would be unfair to expect anything different because the man has not played competitive basketball in a long time and the last time he did, it seemed to break him mentally. All of which, of course, made the Nets' decision to acquire him and try to inspire him more curious but hey, they obviously know something the rest of us don't.
Simmons fouled out of last night's loss to the Memphis Grizziles, the sixth whistle coming on a bit of manipulation by Ja Morant.
It was the second time Simmons has fouled out this year and it moved the race between his total points (17) and total fouls (14) even closer.
"I just saw the play," Simmons said after the game. "It wasn't a foul. [Orr] called it a foul, made a mistake, it is what it is ... it's really frustrating ... it's not a foul, but it was bulls---. It's frustrating because it's late game, fourth quarter, it's a physical, close game. It's the NBA. It's not college. It's not high school. Some people are going to get hit, some people bleed; it's basketball."
Steven Nash, who is still there, was asked to identify the problem. And he has the same answer as everyone else.
"I think rust," Nash said of what he believes is hampering Simmons most right now. "I just don't think he's played a lot of basketball. So he's just trying to get his game back, his confidence and the familiarity. It's been 18 months, basically, so that's a long period of inactivity. For anyone that's played the game, you know that's very difficult."
That's where we are at. Granted, it's extremely early. Simmons can't get much worse. Or less explosive. Or foul with more frequency. Inside him exists a player capable of making an All-NBA team. It's going to be a process. But damn, it's going to be slow and painful at times.