Ben Simmons says he’s healthy, ready to ‘come back and dominate’

new balance


Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons

The Ben Simmons is back PR tour is in full swing.

First came the reports of him looking good in workouts this summer at the Nets’ facility, there were the obligatory workout videos on Instagram and reports from teammates such as Mikal Bridges talking about him impressing. Next up, Simmons has sat down with Marc Spears of ESPN’s Andscape and says he is excited to get back on the court and compete at a high level this season.

“I’m excited because I know I can do it,” Simmons told ESPN Andscape on Aug. 25. “So, that’s the exciting part for me. [Last Thursday] night, I’m like, ‘Yo, let’s get back in the gym.’ I’m excited. I get to do something I love to do at a high level. Regardless of what people say, I’m a three-time All-Star, All-NBA player, [All-] Defensive Team. I’ve done things. I’m not somebody that hasn’t done anything…

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“For me to come back and dominate people will be great,” Simmons said. “I don’t intend to come back the same player I was last [season], because that’s not even close to where I am. I get excited because I’m like, ‘Damn, I would [expletive] on the player I was last year.’ But I know where I was at last year, so it’s easy to say that. But it’s just fun to go and do the thing that you love when you’re out there. That’s really it for me. I don’t really ask for too much.

After returning from back surgery, Simmons played in 42 games to open last season but was shut down in February due to recurring back issues. On the court, he looked hesitant to shoot a jumper (89.4% of his shots came within 10 feet of the rim), and he averaged 6.9 points per game, with 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists. Simmons was nowhere near the All-Star level player he was back in Philadelphia, and as the season went on he was moved from more of a point forward role to becoming a backup center working out of the dunker’s spot.

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Simmons says this year will be different — he’s healthy and comfortable again following a new back treatment program. Simmons said he expects to play point guard and have the ball in his hands again.

For his sake, let’s hope he can bounce back — despite all the flaws in his game (which bubbled to the surface in the playoffs), he was an elite defender, quality passer and guy who used to be able to get to the rim and get a bucket. It’s just been so long since anyone has seen that player, everyone — from Nets fans to their coaching staff — are taking the wait-and-see approach this time around.

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Simmons, for his part, believes in himself and his health. That’s a start.



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