The Nets have three more days of training camp before taking the Barclays Center hardwood to face the Sixers in the preseason opener Monday night. Although there’s plenty of practice left, the Nets head coach isn’t going to rush decisions on who’s in and who’s out Monday night.
“We’ll see. We’ll see how it looks for Monday. We’re not making any decisions on that until we see how the next few days go and whatever comes out of camp,” Nash said.
The Nets head coach disclosed that he doesn’t expect T.J. Warren, who is still rehabbing his foot, to be ready for the start of the season. Warren stated he’s feeling good but wants to take it slow. On the other hand, there is still a chance for Seth Curry, who stated he’s feeling ‘85, 90 percent’ on Monday, to play in the final preseason game, per Nash. The guard hasn’t been cleared for five-on-five runs yet. Joe Harris and Edmond Sumner are healthy and can play Monday. When Kyrie Irving was asked whether he knows if he will play in all four preseason games, he stated he doesn’t know.
When Nash was asked about Simmons and what’s the chance he can make his Nets debut on Monday, the Nets head coach wants to see how he comes out of training camp before making an official decision. According to Nash, there is no minutes restriction currently on Simmons play but did not rule out the possibility of that changing.
“It just depends on how he’s doing. The number one priority is to continue his return to play plan, which is to manage that back. There are no limitations, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be at some point,” Nash stated. “We just have to evaluate it day by day. He looks great. He’s been handling the demands well.”
To Mills, who has a long relationship with Simmons and spent time together in Australia, there are two things that have caught his eye during training camp: his “rig” and the presence he possesses when the ball is in his hands.
“I think people forget just the physique that he has. The rig on him, he’s a very solid rig when he’s healthy,” Mills said. “When he walks out on the floor and his presence when the ball’s in his hands. That’s probably the first thing.”
Markieff Morris had a similar comment two days ago, remarking that Simmons is “strong as hell.”
So it remains to be seen how Nash and the Nets coaching staff use their new Swiss-Army Knife Simmons on the floor, but his potential is already evident to his teammates. In Irving’s eyes, anything’s possible for his star teammate.
“That level of talent, and IQ and motivation and drive, anything’s possible,” Irving said. “He has that it inside of him so now we just have to slowly develop him where he knows that he can just go out there and be himself. We want him to be his highest potential of himself as a player, be able to accomplish things out on the floor that he wasn’t able to do the last few years, and just have some fun being at peace around him.”
Irving also said that Simmons is in a great position mentally. He expressed his full support for Simmons and noted his own troubles are similar to what Simmons has dealt with.
“It means everything,” Irving said. “It means they come in with a peace of mind. And they just enjoy the game of basketball. It’s a profession for sure, I don’t want to knock that, it’s a seriousness about it. But building team camaraderie takes that ability to go through some uncomfortable moments and you got to be balanced mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and be able to handle things like that. So I definitely have first-hand experience, I don’t want to make mental health a trend.
“In actuality, it’s one of the most important things that you need out here to be great in anything you do. We all are supportive. We all go through our own things, but we can understand and meet him where he’s at and just have him enjoy the game rather than make it feel like it’s something he’s forced to come to at all. So I feel good.”
The Nets also announced that they had waived Marcus Zegarowski, who was taken 49th in the 2021 Draft. The Nets can now assign Zegarowski to the Long Island Nets. Later Thursday, the Nets filled the spot by signing Kaiser Gates, a 6’7” swing man who played for the Nets Summer League entry, scoring 18 points in five games. He played for the Long Island Nets in the 2020-21 season and Hapoel Jerusalem in the Israeli League last season. He too could wind up in Long Island. Gates and Edmond Sumner were teammates at Xavier.
Expect the Nets to continue waiving and signing players over the next week or so. It’s a way for the Nets to stock the Long Island roster. None are likely to see any action in preseason games.
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving: ‘Anything is possible’ for Ben Simmons - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Kyrie Irving lauds ‘special’ Aaron Judge and has message for cheaters - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Nets rookies sing Happy Birthday to Kevin Durant - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving says ‘anything’s possible’ for talented, motivated Ben Simmons - Nick Friedell - ESPN
- Nic Claxton, Day’Ron Sharpe or … Ben Simmons? Who could play center for the Nets - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic
- From Deep: Following Kevin Durant drama, can a healthy Ben Simmons bring the Brooklyn Nets together? - James Herbert - CBS Sports
- Steve Nash: Nets ‘don’t need’ Ben Simmons to shoot jumpers - Ben Krimmell - SNY