Who would know better about whether Ben Simmons can fit in with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant than the guy who coached both Simmons and Irving in high school, Simmons at Monteverde Academy in Florida, Irving at St. Patrick’s in New Jersey.
And Kevin Boyle, still at Monteverde, tells Adam Zagoria of NJ.com that he believes it will work out whenever it happens mainly because of something not often mentioned in bios of the 25-year-old: his BBIQ, his basketball intelligence quotient.
And that could happen on Monday, per Shams Charania...
Brooklyn Nets three-time All-Star Ben Simmons plans to make his season debut in Game 4 vs. Boston on Monday as long as rehab remains on course, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Simmons is set to play his first game since June 2021.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 21, 2022
“You get a guy that could slow Jayson Tatum down, you get a guy that could do a good job there, make it more difficult for him. You get a guy that can rebound the ball and is not a high-volume shooter. You get a guy that’s not going to take difficult shots,” said Boyle. “And you get a guy that’s got a good basketball IQ to be able to fit in quickly to what you’re trying to do.
“It won’t be an easy adjustment because you haven’t played in a year, but at the same time, he does have some qualities where he might actually be able to pull that off where it’s a benefit for the team even though he’s sat out for a whole season.”
When Zagoria asked what’s “broken” about Simmons, Boyle responded, “I think Ben’s a three-time [NBA] All-Star at 25 years old, so not too much is broken.”
Beyond what he thinks Simmons can do in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Boyle believes he can still be one of the NBA’s top players.
“Obviously, moving forward, not this playoffs if he plays, but in his career, to hit the heights that he’s capable of, then he’s going to have to gain more confidence in his offense,” said Boyle. “He’s averaged 16 [points] for his career so it’s not like he’s not scoring at all, but can we score and have the confidence that I want to take advantage of mismatches, get to the foul line 10 times a game without concern and have that mentality?
“And I believe in Ben. He’s always been a competitor and a terrific player, let’s not forget he made the All-Defensive Team [twice] and is a three-time All-Star so it’s not a situation where a lot’s broken. But there’s no question he has higher expectations of himself and he’s capable of more offensively.”
Boyle added that the key for Simmons is to not “be bashful in the fourth quarter or in key moments, and then you have a guy that’s potentially a top-5, top-10 player in the league.”
We will learn soon when any such journey will begin.