Ben Simmons made his much-anticipated return to Philadelphia last night as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. Hype for the matchup was significantly dampened by the wave of injuries that washed over the 76ers in the weeks prior; Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey were all sidelined for the contest. What was pitched as a contentious, potentially bitter battle between two conference contenders now appeared to be another lackadaisical regular-season NBA game in which the full strength squad would dominate.
That did not happen because the Sixers decided to smack the Nets even without their three best players. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Simmons lost 115-106 to Tobias Harris, De'Anthony Melton, and "BBall" Paul Reed. Jacque Vaughn pulled all the starters with three minutes left due to lack of effort. It was the kind of loss that forces a team to look in the mirror and reckon with what they see.
It also is the type of loss that dominates sports talk throughout the next news cycle and Stephen A. Smith obliged on Get Up Wednseady morning. He did not hold back, calling it "one of the most disgraceful performances" he's ever seen from an NBA team and they should be ashamed of themselves.
This is just the latest event in the disastrous saga that has been the Brooklyn Nets with KD and Kyrie on the team. There are so many issues with the team that we can't keep track but lost in the background of the whole antisemitism saga is the fact that the team doesn't seem very well-built. The pieces don't fit and any hopes of a switch flipping once Vaughn got the head gig have been dashed already.
Despite enjoying the talents of arguably the two greatest scorers of this generation, the Nets freaking suck. A masterclass in how to create a terrible basketball team out of quality parts and a lesson to all that talent does not solve everything.