Why putting Ben Simmons in the center can help improve the Brooklyn Nets attack

Wendell Cruz USA Today Sports
The Brooklyn Nets have put a big surprise behind the season and are now heading to training camp with the heart of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons.

It comes after a turbulent summer that saw Kevin Durant claim the trade, Kyrie Irving poses to the Los Angeles Lakers and plenty of speculation about Simmons’ health. Finally, all of this is behind them and the organization can now begin its focus on preparing for the 2022-23 NBA season.

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This will be the first time the Nets will learn how the Durant-Irving-Simmons trio work. Never wearing clothes last season, he lost time with the Philadelphia 76ers due to his mental health and then dealt with an injury shortly after landing in Brooklyn. It’s leaving the franchise in a changing position, and it needs to figure out how to get these three players to fit in.

Ahead of training camp, reports emerged that the Nets were considering formations this season with Simmons at the center. While it’s a situation that may be uncomfortable at first, it can be beneficial to both Simmons and Nets.

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Simmons is a unicorn player. At 6ft 11, he has outdone many of his surrounding matches by bullying his way inside the paint. Being a top goalkeeper has helped him set insane numbers during his career. It’s a consensual nightmare, especially in the transitional phase.

  • Ben Simmons stats (career): 15.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 15.0 Defensive Win Points, 105 Defensive Rating

Since it was drafted, Simmons has played the lead guard very well. Occasionally, he’ll get a triple-double through his points, assists and rebounds. Sometimes it would play Power Forward mode depending on the individuals on the ground. But even as a power forward, the three-time All-Star would serve as the primary ball handler.

Simmons shouldn’t worry about his numbers either. His ability to play basketball with an all-encompassing brand can create different opportunities for him and his teammates.

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The former LSU Tiger is an exceptional defensive athlete. He can read the opponent’s attack and intercept passes well. Simmons’ ability to intercept passes is vital as it will prevent the opposing teams from getting the ball inside. Simmons’ ability to disrupt passing lanes is vital as it will prevent opposing teams from getting the ball inside.

The only thing that nets should do well when they have the Aussie feel in the middle is to surround the bowlers with the bowlers. Simmons’ lineup at the center with Durant, Irving, Seth Curry and Joe Harris might be their best shot to beat teams in the East. As their hub, the 2018 Rookie of the Year can emulate other great players like Nikola Jokic, Domantas Sabonis and Draymond Green. Simmons don’t need to camp in paint most of the time. But their attack can help if he becomes another playmaker from within the paint.

People are expecting big things from Simmons and The Nets this year. After a season full of doubts and plays, the curling should come back stronger. If Steve Nash decides to put Simmons in the middle, the league should prepare for the wild ride.

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