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Ben Simmons flops in Brooklyn Nets debut

In his first game since 2021, Ben Simmons tallied just four points and five assists as the Nets lost by 22 to the Pelicans.

New Orleans Pelicans v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

John Carter. The Lone Ranger. Dark Phoenix. Gigli. Flops happen on opening night from time to time. And so too was it for Ben Simmons in his Brooklyn Nets debut. In the first game that counted in his new uniform, the former first overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers recorded just two points, five rebounds, five assists, three turnovers, and six personal fouls in 23 minutes of the Nets’ 130-108 loss at home to the New Orleans Pelicans.

To be fair, last night was Simmons’ first real game since June 20, 2021. There was bound to be a certain amount of rust to shake off. To be petty, though, let’s all emulate Nelson Muntz: Ha-Ha!

The Nets got the customary 0-of-2 from the free throw line. A front rim brick followed by a back rim clank.

Let’s see those “big man” skills for the ‘Ben needs to play the five’ truthers.

It needs to be asked though, “What did Trae shoot?” Well, in this case it was actually Zion Williamson, who was Simmons’ primary defensive assignment per’s matchup data. With Ben in coverage, Zion tallied seven points on 3-of-7 shooting (1-of-1 from the free throw line), with one assist against one turnover. We’ll call this neutral without a deeper dive into the matchup. Here’s a shallow dive you might enjoy anyway.

From the Sixers’ perspective, the most important thing is that with Simmons, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving all playing, Brooklyn looked like a hot mess. There will surely be some strides in terms of team continuity, but everything coalescing at the Nets becoming yet another Eastern Conference powerhouse for Philadelphia to deal with seems more remote. Or maybe New Orleans is just going to be really good this year? Not a crazy notion.

The Sixers have to keep their own ducks in a row, however, after the Celtics jump shot them into oblivion in the second half Tuesday night. They’re looking for their first win in tonight’s home opener against Milwaukee. Still, I can’t imagine Nets fans are loving the trade right now after watching their game last night and seeing James Harden put up 35 points on Tuesday. Score one for Daryl Morey.

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