Brooklyn Nets guard Seth Curry has warned teammate Ben Simmons to expect a “challenging” return to the big league after sitting out the 2021-2022 season due to a standoff with the Philadelphia 76ers and then a herniated disc.
Speaking to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald from New York City, Curry provided a rare insight into Simmons’ offseason as the 26-year-old lays the groundwork for his homecoming to the court.
Simmons was traded to the Nets in February after an apparent relationship breakdown with the 76ers organisation. The Australian has since confronted mental health concerns and back issues, last taking to the court against the Atlanta Hawks in last year’s playoffs.
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“There are always challenges. Foremost, he has missed a whole season. It is going to be a challenge getting his rhythm back playing basketball,” Curry said.
“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.”
Curry formed part of the blockbuster multiplayer trade that saw Simmons depart Philadelphia, alongside centre Andre Drummond and two first-round picks in a deal for then Brooklyn superstar, James Harden.
Simmons has since been completing a rehabilitation program after undergoing back surgery in May, but is expected to be fully recovered ahead of the Nets’ training camp in late September.
“I have seen him in the facility a couple of times,” Curry said.
“[He’s] been doing a lot of shooting, working, working on his body and being in the gym, so, from everything I have seen, hopefully, he will be out there ready to go come training camp.”
Curry, the younger brother of four-time NBA championship winner Stephen, said a fit Simmons offers so much offensively and at the defensive end, where he has twice been named in the NBA all-defensive first team.
“He is trying to make the most of this off-season, get back healthy physically and mentally. Like I say, he had a year off, it’s going to be good for him to get back out on the court and get re-acclimated,” he said.
“He creates a lot of three-point shots for his teammates. Obviously, it helps me a lot, to get good shots. The pick-and-roll game, the hand-off game, the two-man game … he is a good guy rolling to the rim and finishing. Defensively … he can guard a lot of positions.”
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