The Brooklyn Nets lost 106-124 in a game against the New York Knicks in the 2022-2023 NBA regular season held at Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA on the 14th (Korean time). Spencer Dinwiddie (28 points, 4 assists) and Cameron Johnson (14 points, 4 rebounds) struggled, but it was not enough. Brooklyn fell into a two-game losing streak after trading Kevin Durant (Phoenix) and Kyrie Irving (Dallas).
The gap between Irving and Durant is bound to be felt greatly. The two players averaged 27.1 and 29.7 points this season, respectively, leading Brooklyn’s offense. Irving brought in Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith, and Durant brought in Mikal Bridges and Johnson. However, it is difficult to find a player who can fill the role of solver that Irving and Durant have done.
The player who should lead Brooklyn’s offense after Irving and Durant left should definitely be Simmons, both in terms of player status and salary. But Simmons doesn’t seem to think so. Simmons, who is having the worst season of his career this season with an average of 7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists, recorded only 2 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 13 minutes in the match against New York that day, and showed a passive attitude with only 2 shot attempts. .
What is frustrating is the Brooklyn team. Coach Zach Vaughn, who was asked about how to use Simmons in an interview after the game that day, said, “If Simmons is playing, it is difficult to space if a big man is used. “Rebounding is difficult. That’s something we need to address.” According to Bonn’s story, Simmons is a player at a level that is virtually unusable.
This is the grim reality of Simmons, who once emerged as the best superstar in the league. Simmons, the 1st overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, performed well upon his debut and earned the Rookie of the Year award. Despite his large stature, he performed well despite his weakness of not having a 3-point shot by breaking through with high-level ball-handling skills and athleticism. However, Simmons, who did not play in Philadelphia due to a feud with coach Doc Rivers, was traded to Brooklyn at the trade deadline in exchange for James Harden. Even after the trade, he didn’t play in a single game due to a back injury and made his first start this season, wearing a Brooklyn outfit.
Simmons was expected to fill Irving and Durant’s weaknesses, defense and activity, and perhaps better synergy than Harden. The results are devastating. His weakness without a three-point shot is fatal, and his free throw success rate is also the worst at 43.9%. Above all, the bold breakthrough that was seen before the injury was missing. Simmons, who has no shot and no ability to break through, can do all he can. Fortunately, his defensive skills are intact.
The problem is the salary Simmons receives. Simmons, who received an annual salary of $35 million this season, has a contract worth $112 million over three years, including this year. They are in a situation where they have to use a player with a high salary as a professional defender. It is more bleak that the proper solution is not in sight. Superstars such as Durant and Irving, who would cover Simmons’ offensive weaknesses, left, and a large number of defensive players such as Bridges, Johnson, and Phineas Smith joined. Simmons is a player with less offensive ability compared to the three players who joined Brooklyn. In the future, the playing time will be reduced further.
Simmons, who emerged as the next-generation superstar to lead the NBA, fell into a terrible slump. The problem is that there is no sign of getting out of the slump.