09/26 19:38 CDT Ben Simmons heads into training camp healthy. He might be the
Nets' point guard if he stays that way
Ben Simmons heads into training camp healthy. He might be the Nets' point guard
if he stays that way
By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) --- Ben Simmons is set to begin training camp next week with no
restrictions after two injury-shortened seasons in Brooklyn.
If he stays healthy, Simmons may even be able to return to his roots as a point
Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said Tuesday that the former All-Star has been playing
5-on-5 this summer and will have an expanded role offensively if he can avoid
Simmons didn't play after the All-Star break last season, slowed by a sore left
knee and then shut down early because of a nerve injury in his back. Simmons
had largely fallen out of the rotation even before then, with Vaughn now saying
he his learned through their discussions this summer that the No. 1 pick in the
2016 draft simply didn't have the strength to do some of the things his coach
wanted after undergoing back surgery the previous offseason.
"But the things that I'm asking him to do going forward, I think he can
physically do now," Vaughn said.
Simmons still views himself as a lead guard, the position he played while
earning three All-Star selections in Philadelphia. He played as a forward or
backup center last season in Brooklyn, where Kyrie Irving was the point guard
when Simmons arrived in a trade for James Harden in February 2022.
With Irving now in Dallas and Simmons seemingly back at full strength, Vaughn
said their agreement is that Simmons will be able to play the way he wants if
he shows he can handle it.
"I think if Ben is able to play consistently in a certain way, there's no doubt
then that he should have the basketball in his hands," Vaughn said. "You have
to guard him with the basketball in his hands."
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