There is plenty of work left to do for Ben Simmons to regain fans’ trust in him. It’s a long road back to respectability for the former No. 1 overall selection by the Philadelphia 76ers, but so far in the 2023 NBA preseason, it appears that Simmons is on the right track. Speaking of the Sixers, Philly head coach Nick Nurse had some intriguing observations about a seemingly motivated Simmons.
“First couple games. looks very good. He looks in shape, he looks confident and pretty aggressive. And it looks like they’ve got a package of stuff in for him, right? So it looks like he’s ready to go,” the new Sixers bench boss said about Simmons, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
Nurse got a good look at Simmons on Tuesday during a preseason showdown between the Nets and the Sixers in Brooklyn, and seemingly came away impressed with the former LSU Tigers star. Although Simmons shot his team in the foot multiple times with eight turnovers, his aggressiveness and interest in playing basketball again were both palpable. He spent 29 minutes on the floor and scored eight points on 4/8 shooting from the field (still no 3-pointers) to go with six rebounds, nine assists, a block, and three steals. In other words, Simmons was all over the floor, trying to make a positive impact in any way he could.
When was the last time Simmons put together a series like this?
Slowly, Simmons is beginning to remind people again of his immense ceiling. After two years of being a constant social media target, Simmons is doing a good job at convincing NBA fans and, most importantly the Nets, that he is getting closer and closer to the MVP-caliber player he used to be during his best days with the Sixers.
The Nets are not considered a top-tier contender for the NBA title in the coming 2023-24 campaign but also remember that Brooklyn made it to the playoffs a season ago despite a roster upheaval and Simmons playing just 42 games – uninspiring for the most part.