The Brooklyn Nets swingman, Ben Simmons will come off the bench against the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday night.
Simmons, who has come off the bench in the last two games for Brooklyn, is coming off left knee soreness – soreness that included some swelling. An MRI done on his left knee came back clean.
The 26-year-old has been finding his footing on an NBA court in the opening weeks of the regular season. Simmons, who didn’t play NBA basketball in roughly a year and a half, has the support and patience of the coaching staff and teammates during this process.
The Nets head coach, Jacque Vaughn believes Simmons is taking the right steps to get back to his All-Star caliber play as each game passes.
“He hasn’t played in a long time. And consecutively, four-in-five, six-in-nine so it tests your mental and physical (strength). And I think you’ve seen him start to progress,” said Nets head coach, Jacque Vaughn after Friday’s practice in Industry City. “Last game, more minutes in the game and some positive force that you saw from him. (The) tip dunk. And we’ll continue to see that the more he plays.”
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Simmons has been under a minute restriction since returning from his left knee soreness. He played 16 minutes in Monday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks and peaked at 24 minutes in Wednesday’s blowout win over the New York Knicks.
“Hopefully so as he continues to play,” said Vaughn on Simmons minutes raising. “We never go into it saying—that first game I told him he was 20ish (but) ended up being 16. He was 20ish and ended up being 25 I believe the other night. A lot of it is geared to anyone who steps on the floor, play hard.”
There’s no secret the Nets will need to continue to put Simmons is the best position in order for him to gather comfortability and succeed. Vaughn, who has coached Brooklyn for only five games, called that a challenge.
“Yeah, and that’s been the challenge,” said Vaughn on putting Simmons in the best places to succeed. “Especially with the second group, I think he’s done a good job and he finished the game with the first group. He gives you the flexibility to be able to play fast, which you want to do, have space on the floor, still be big out there, rebound the basketball. We’re still learning each other and the groups are still learning each other.”
The Nets will run with the same starting lineup against the Clippers Saturday night — Edmond Sumner, Joe Harris, Royce O’Neale, Kevin Durant, and Nic Claxton.
“I guess I’ll give away the starting lineup. Same group,” Vaughn said Friday. “They’ll start in Clipper Land.”