Nets’ Ben Simmons playing at high level during win streak: ‘Being himself’

1 month ago 11

ATLANTA — The Nets are riding the longest winning streak successful the league this season, and their champion since 2005-06. And during this run, their champion nett standing doesn’t beryllium to high-scoring stars Kevin Durant oregon Kyrie Irving.

It belongs to Ben Simmons.

Coming into Wednesday’s crippled with the Hawks, Simmons has the team’s champion nett standing (+21.7) and antiaircraft standing (106.6), arsenic good arsenic adjacent the apical violative standing (127.9) among the regular rotation players. What’s been the secret?

“I deliberation helium could astir apt reply that better. But maine arsenic a teammate, conscionable seeing him smile, person amusive and beryllium competitive, that’s him being himself,” Irving said of Simmons. “So anytime helium could conscionable beryllium himself and spot that we person his back, I consciousness similar he’s the champion mentation of himself.”

That champion mentation of himself is what Brooklyn expected astatine past season’s commercialized deadline erstwhile the Nets shipped erstwhile MVP James Harden to Philadelphia for him.

Ben SimmonsBen SimmonsNBAE via Getty Images

The Nets are figuring retired however to determination astir the high-IQ Simmons and play disconnected him successful ways that let him to not conscionable coexist with chap non-shooter Nic Claxton, but really thrive erstwhile request be. And connected the different end, he’s starting to look similar the prima who was erstwhile runner-up for antiaircraft subordinate of the twelvemonth honor.

After Jazz prima Donovan Mitchell was perceived to person thrown shadiness astatine Simmons successful the offseason, Simmons helped clasp him to 15 points connected conscionable 5 of 16 shooting Monday night, hardly fractional of his accustomed gaudy 28.9 average.

Now determination are reports that Harden could look to permission Philadelphia successful escaped agency. After forcing his mode disconnected the Rockets and Nets, if helium bolts the 76ers arsenic well, he’ll commencement to look arsenic flighty arsenic a Kardashian’s dating history.

Ben Simmons defends during the Nets triumph   implicit    the Cavaliers.Ben Simmons defends during the Nets triumph implicit the Cavaliers.NBAE via Getty Images

Seth Curry, who missed Monday’s triumph successful Cleveland, has been upgraded to probable with a non-COVID illness. Joe Harris remained backmost successful Brooklyn nursing a sore near knee, with his presumption for Saturday successful Charlotte up successful the air.

David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards, Day’Ron Sharpe and Alondes Williams were each retired versus the Hawks, connected G-League assignment.

The past clip the Nets won 9 consecutive determination was a astonishing communal denominator. Current manager Jacque Vaughn was a backup constituent defender connected that team, and the triumph came against Phoenix prima Steve Nash — who was Vaughn’s brag and predecessor until parting ways with Brooklyn connected Nov. 1.

Yuta Watanabe is shooting .686 (24 of 35) connected country 3-pointers, the champion successful the league of anybody who has taken implicit 20. He’s 11 of 18 from the right, and a near-automatic 13 of 17 from the left.

Royce O’Neale is 14 of 21 from down the arc successful his past 4 games.

Kyrie Irving donated different $15,000 to a GoFundMe for a Long Island antheral who mislaid his Southampton location successful a fire.