Ben Simmons is back in Brooklyn and back on the court and tells FOX5’s Tina Cervasio that he’s “super excited” about playing in Brooklyn with “guys who are easy to play with.”
“I’m super excited to be in Brooklyn, he told Cervasio. “We got a great team. I think this year is going to be a completely different year (compared to) the last couple.”
It was Simmons first local TV interview since returning from his six-month rehab in Miami from back surgery.
“[I feel] amazing. I think this is the first summer where I’ve really had to just get healthy and get back on track to where I need to be,” he told the veteran New York sportscaster.
When Cervasio asked what excites Simmons about playing with Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, etc., he responded, “Just playing with guys who are just easy to play with, that just have one goal and thats to win. I dont think guys have too many individual goals. I think the team is going to come first and I think the culture that Jacque Vaughn and Sean Marks are building now has been incredible.”
Whether or not Simmons meant to throw shade at Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, it was yet another indication he wants a break from the past … and that last season’s “Big Three” had issues with chemistry.
A number of his current teammates led by Bridges have publicly supported Simmons efforts to get back on the court.
Simmons, of course, played only 42 games last season — back pain ending his season in the days after KD and Kyrie were traded in deadline deals. He averaged 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists, his worst season since joining the NBA in 2017.
Simmons was interviewed at HSS Training Center where he was hosting an event sponsored by his family foundation and RISE, a national nonprofit dedicated to eliminating racism through sport.
As he has in previous interviews, Simmons said the most difficult part of his year and a half tenure with the Nets has been not being able to do his job to the fullest.
“I owe it to everybody, the fans and everybody, to get back to where I need to be. That’s what I did this summer — to get back.”
When Cervasio asked if he has a message for Nets fans, Simmons had this to say: “Get ready for a great year. I think it’s going to be exciting, we’re going to have a lot of fun. Get back to Brooklyn basketball.”
Simmons strongly reiterated his position that he’ll play the 1 despite fans and pundits suggesting point guard isn’t his best position.
“That’s what I am, I’m a point guard. As much as people try to put me in - everyone’s a GM in their head - I’m a point guard,” he said with a smile. ““I think with the team we have, I think it’s constructed well for us to have a good run.”
Point guards, he said, have a responsibility to be leaders adding that he hopes he can teach leadership skills to the young Brooklynites participating at RISE.
- Nets’ Ben Simmons: ‘I owe it to everybody’ to regain All-Star form - Brian Lewis - New York Post