Ben Simmons is looking to bounce back with the Brooklyn Nets this season after a 2021-2022 season that was marred by controversy. Former NBA champion Richard Jefferson compared Simmons to his former teammate with the Nets, NBA Hall of Famer Jason Kidd.
“Part of the reason why he’s such a great passer is because, and look, Jason Kidd was very, very similar,” Jefferson said on ‘NBA Today.’ “Jason Kidd would have a layup and kick it out to somebody for a 3. Jason Kidd would have a layup and kick it out.
“Ben Simmons gets into that paint, and he’s not necessarily looking at the rim. That was one of the things for Jason Kidd. As we started to become a better team, he would start to look to score more.
“Ben Simmons is a natural passer, so when hen he gets into that paint, even if he does have a layup, that’s what he does. He kicks it out, and that’s why his assist numbers are so high, because he collects people in the paint. He does need to be more aggressive in that paint.
“There’s a difference between creating for your teammates and then shying away from the moment or easy buckets, and that’s the balance that he has to find.”
Simmons’ lack of aggressiveness has been a hot topic since he passed up an open layup in Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals. While Simmons may never be a consistent jump shooter, being more aggressive should create more opportunities for star teammates Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Watch Richard Jefferson compare Ben Simmons and Jason Kidd below (starting at the 1:35 mark):
Can Ben Simmons and the Brooklyn Nets compete for a championship?
The Brooklyn Nets dealt with plenty of turmoil over the offseason. While there were points when it was questionable if Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would return, both stars ultimately remained with the organization. With Ben Simmons now healthy, the trio will look to lead the Nets to the first title in franchise history.
All three will enter this season with a lot to prove in the eyes of many fans. Durant has to prove he can lead the team to a title after his trade request wasn’t granted. While Irving has to prove he can stay on the court, Simmons has to prove he has overcome the issues that have plagued him in the past.
In addition to possessing one of the NBA’s best trios, the Nets have considerable depth behind the stars. If they are able to co-exist, the team should be in title contention.