Ben Simmons is on a mission to get his swagger back. After sitting out the entire 2021-22 season and half of 2022-23 due to a lingering back issue, the three-time All-Star is reportedly beginning to feel like his old self.
“He’s talking about being an All-Star again. He said in some workouts in Miami he put the ball through his legs and dunked,” Marc J. Spears said Wednesday on NBA Today. “He expects to be healthy and that he will play in the first game this season. And that All-Star caliber player, he expects that player to be back.”
Simmons told Spears in a recent interview that he “was definitely on the floor when he shouldn’t have been” at the start of last season. After undergoing a microdiscectomy on his back last summer, the former number-one pick was limited physically in 2022-23, averaging 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists in 42 games.
After missing the entire second half of the year due to a nerve impingement in his back, Simmons said his summer has consisted of 5-6 hour training days, Monday through Friday. That dedication to his rehab process has him feeling “the strongest he’s been” as he attempts to regain the confidence of his All-Star days.
“This confidence and swag that he had certainly is much different than we’ve seen from him in the last two years,” Spears said of Ben Simmons. “He told me this is the healthiest he’s been, which I’m sure a lot of Nets fans and NBA fans are saying that they heard this before, but one thing that he mentioned when we went to get a bite in Miami was, ‘Hey, I drove here and my back didn’t hurt. A year ago, people had to drive me. I couldn’t even sit still.’ So he’s out of a lot of pain.”
.@MarcJSpears on his conversations Ben Simmons:
“He said in some workouts in Miami he put the ball through his legs and dunked… He expects to be healthy and to play in the first game this season. And that All-Star caliber player, he expects that player to be back.” pic.twitter.com/hxLGAx5sfE
— Erik Slater (@erikslater_) September 7, 2023
Nets General Manager Sean Marks echoed similar All-Star hopes when discussing Simmons at Summer League. Simmons told Spears on Aug. 24 that he had been playing two-on-two for two weeks and was “introducing more bodies to the floor.”
Less than two months remain before the Nets open their season on October 25 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. If healthy, Simmons will join a Brooklyn core predominately in the same age range, with Mikal Bridges (26), Cam Johnson (27), Nic Claxton (24), and Dinwiddie (30) headlining the roster. The Aussie is Brooklyn’s highest-paid player at $78 million over the next two seasons.
Source link : https://clutchpoints.com/nets-news-ben-simmons-all-star-expectations-2023-24-nba-season-amid-newfound-health
Author : Erik Slater
Publish date : 2023-09-07 17:37:01
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