Nets Already Getting Sick of Ben Simmons
By Liam McKeone
Ben Simmons returned to the court one month ago, this time in a Brooklyn Nets uniform. We already are getting insider reports that his teammates are getting frustrated with him.
Surprised? You shouldn't be. It's more of the same problems with Simmons. The Nets are getting aggravated that he isn't consistently available; the former No. 1 overall pick has missed five games already this year with knee issues. And when he is on the court, his coworkers are openly questioning his desire to be there along with his ability to make an impact. Per The Athletic:
According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation, the frustration surrounding Simmons had been building in recent weeks within the organization. The coaching staff and players have been concerned about his availability and level of play, with some questioning his passion for the game, those sources said. But even when he did play, Simmons’ struggles in his first nine games this season were part of the Nets frustration as well.
In a vacuum, it should be shocking that members of the organization are willing to anonymously slander Simmons less than a month into his first season on the team. But these are the Nets we're talking about. The vibes are astronomically bad.
However, the overall nature of the report is pretty weird and maybe alarming. Shams Charania appears to have asked Simmons directly about the shit his teammates talked about him. Which is not very common! Reports like this will drop and then players get asked about it in press conferences but rarely does the reporter go to the targeted player for an interview and include it in the same piece with the slander. None of that is to mention that there's a paragraph in there that praises Simmons' ability to *checks notes* pay attention while getting criticized during a players only meeting.
The level of exasperation toward Simmons bubbled to the surface on Oct. 29 when the Nets held a players-only meeting following a loss to the Pacers at Barclays Center. Sources with direct knowledge of the meeting, but who were granted anonymity so that they could speak freely say that in that meeting, Markieff Morris — a veteran leader on these Nets — spoke up in front of all of his teammates about how they need Simmons to succeed and that he has to respond when he deals with adversity on the court. Those sources all described a meeting where Simmons appeared to take Morris’ words in stride and was responsive and attentive throughout.
Real weird energy emanating from this insider report. But if this is where the Nets are at before Thanksgiving, it will be fascinating to see how far things go south by Christmas.