Spencer Dinwiddie and Ben Simmons didn’t play much with each other last season with the Nets. Between Dinwiddie’s arrival and Simmons back/nerve issues, they played only four games together in the week between February 9 and February 15.
But in talking to Patrick Beverly on his podcast Wednesday, Dinwiddie made it clear he remembers the player that dominated the league before mental and physical issues kept him from his top form the past two seasons...
Ben Simmons revenge szn loading? pic.twitter.com/5dpPtOBeZ5— Pat Bev Pod (@PatBevPod) September 27, 2023
Both on defense...
“Ben at his best form is a far more athletic Draymond Green with less three-point shooting… When you talk about the defensive IQ, reading passing lanes, quarterbacking a defense, able to guard one through five. He’s one of the only people in the league who can do that, and then obviously he’s getting out on that break.”
And offense. He was asked if he and Simmons could play together. He made it clear he felt they can, that he could supply some of the 3-point shooting needed to open up offense.
“He’s never been fortunate enough to play with Steph and Klay obviously, so I think if he was in that type of environment you would see those same kind of triple-doubles, accolades, things like that.
“When Ben’s at his best he’s getting off the rim, he’s being a monster in transition, he’s making plays for others. We hope that there’s enough shooting out there with Mikal (Bridges) ... Cam Johnson obviously is elite, he’s always shooting 45 from three ... Catch and shoot-wise, I’ve been a good 3-point shooter in my career. We hope to space the floor for him. He gets out in transition and makes plays. And obviously you’ve got Nic (Claxton) playing above the rim.”
Or as Beverley said, “People forget. He cold.”
Overall, Dinwiddie said the playoffs are the goal, that because Houston retains the Nets first rounder in 2024, there’s no talk of tanking.
“You got some guys with some playoff experience, obviously,” said Dinwiddie. “The team itself doesn’t own its picks so we definitely gonna try to win, try to get in the playoffs, for sure. What the ceiling is, we don’t know. Obviously, we’re coming together as a unit. Ben’s back healthy and we’re trying to see where we can take it exactly.”
The comments are the latest bit of positive vibes coming out of HSS Training Center since Simmons arrived a couple of weeks back. Of course, yesterday, Jacque Vaughn and Sean Marks disclosed that he’s “100%” and playing 5-on-5 at the Nets practice facility, that he’ll have “no restrictions” when the team opens camp next Tuesday.
Jacque Vaughn hinted at the possibility of Dinwiddie and Simmons playing together as well. He specifically cited Dinwiddie’s history as a scorer no matter where he played or who he played with, whether D’Angelo Russell, Kyrie Irving, James Harden or Luka Doncic.