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Nets coach Steve Nash doesn’t care if Ben Simmons ‘ever shoots a jump shot’

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Ben Simmons may have found his home.

The Brooklyn Nets don’t expect him to shoot jump shots. Those are the words of head coach Steve Nash, who spoke on Wednesday about Simmons’ role on his new team.

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Simmons trains with the Nets and was cleared to play after he missed the 2021–22 season due to multiple issues. He persevered and feuded with the Philadelphia 76ers before being traded to the Nets and missed time to attend to his mental health and a herniated disc in his back that required surgery during the off-season.

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Nash spoke to reporters about Simmons’ expected role with the Nets, which will be varied. But he is not expected to jump shots.

“Very unique,” Nash said of Simmons. according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “That’s what makes Ben great. That’s why I don’t care if he ever throws a jump shot. He can do it, but that’s not what makes him special and not what we need. He is a great addition to our team.”

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Simmons has a unique skill set in the NBA. A 6-11 point guard, he is one of the best passers and playmakers in basketball. He can use his size and athleticism as a rebounder, scorer and elite defender who can cover any position on the court. There is little he can’t do on the basketball court, except for one of his basic playing skills. He is not a willing or able shooter.

FILE - Brooklyn Nets' Ben Simmons watches practice ahead of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Philadelphia.  Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers have settled a complaint he filed to refund a portion of last season's salary, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Monday, August 15, 2022.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
After a long delay, Ben Simmons is ready to make his Nets debut. (Photo by AP/Matt Slocum, file)

In four active seasons in NBA basketball, Simmons hit 34 three-pointers. He made five. In a league where shooting from outside leads to offense, this presents an obvious problem for the player who must hold the ball. If the opposing defense knows that Simmons won’t shoot effectively, the defense becomes a lot easier.

At the same time, Simmons will be surrounded by more than capable shooters, most notably Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the game’s two elite snipers. Can they actually do the job? Putting everything together around Simmons will be Nash’s biggest tactical challenge in his third season as an NBA head coach.

It’s no secret that Simmons can’t shoot. His reluctance to make it to the playoffs was ultimately the catalyst for his departure from Philadelphia. Looking ahead publicly, Nash is at least taking some pressure off Simmons over his Nets debut.

One way the Nets could solve Simmons’ shooting problems is to play him inside, allowing Irving to lead the offense. This is a strategy that will limit Simmons’ playability, but can prove useful in high leverage situations where his limitations as a shooter come to light. Nash said Wednesday that Simmons will see time at the center.

“If he’s a big single, we’ll definitely play him in the role,” Nash said. “But he’s also our playmaker and point guard.”

Simmons is also ready to take on this role when required.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Simmons said. “I will play wherever the team needs me, whatever helps. I can defend 1 to 5, play 1 to 5. I think it’s just one of those things where we have so many different talents on this team, me anywhere to help get points, get stops, that whatever it is.”

In an ideal world, Simmons would learn to shoot. Expecting him to do so after seven seasons of his NBA career was optimistic. Soon, after a long delay, one of the NBA’s most exciting experiments will come to an end when Simmons takes to the court alongside Irving and Durant.


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