As Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving look for the first bus out of Brooklyn, young star Ben Simmons is eagerly preparing for his return to basketball.
After over a year out of the game, he is set to complete his comeback on opening night for the Brooklyn Nets.
On First Take Monday morning, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith dropped some intel on the two-way star and assured the world that he's ready to play.
"New flash here, I ran into Ben Simmons. He and I had a conversation. His personal business is his personal business. I support the brother. I had a problem with him not playing, that's in the past. He's ready to go, he swears he's ready to go, and I'm rooting for the brother."
For a team mired in uncertainty, Ben Simmons is one of the only guarantees for this Nets squad. No matter what happens with Durant or Kyrie, Ben will be a Net and he might be charged with leading them through this next chapter of their existence.
Still, nobody really knows what to expect from him. After so much time off, how will he adjust to the grind of an 82-game NBA schedule? Will he finally master the jump shot that has held him back for years?
There are a lot of questions, but some still have some faith in what he can do.
“There are always challenges. Foremost, he has missed a whole season. It is going to be a challenge getting his rhythm back playing basketball,” Seth Curry said on the challenges of Simmons' return. “I don’t know specifically what he has been through, mentally – that’s hard for me to comment on – but having that year off, having that time off, of competing and playing five-on-five basketball is going to be just as hard ... just taking some time and getting re-acclimated to playing high-level basketball, but he is a special talent, has all the skills. The Nets need him on the floor.”
Needless to say, the whole NBA community will be watching Simmons very closely this season. After burning the 76ers so hard, he has a lot of work to do if he wants to re-gain some favor with the fans.
According to Stephen A.'s update, it seems like he knows that more than anyone -- and he's ready for the challenges that lie ahead.