Gentle Ben

This hideous airball layup perfectly sums up Ben Simmons’ season so far

October 28, 2022

To say that Ben Simmons has had a tough start to the 2022 season so far would be an understatement. It’s been absolutely brutal. Through five games, an abysmal 1-4 start for the big-money Brooklyn Nets, he’s shot just over 44% from the floor while averaging 4.4 fouls and 5.6 points per game. Earlier this week, Kyrie Irving could even be heard shouting “SHOOT IT, BEN!” as Simmons passed up a wide-open look in the paint to kick it out to the perimeter, exhibiting the very same yips that got him run out of Philly in the first place.

On Thursday night, however, we got a glimpse of why the Nets might be better off with Simmons facilitating instead of finishing, as he took a give-and-go from Durant, drove the lane, and—with Kyrie's pleas still ringing in his hears—jacked up this atrocity.

Now on one hand, you gotta feel for Simmons. He’s been effectively retired twice as long as Jordan was the first time and he wasn’t exactly His Airness to begin with. Will he eventually shake off the rust and become a contributing member of the 2022-23 Brooklyn Nets? Almost certainly. In fact, Simmons made a crucial steal down the stretch on Thursday to help send the game to overtime (though the Nets would go on to lose).

But when you’re chucking up airballs like this as the chief diva on an underperforming team unlikeable man-children, you’re not a victim, you’re a villain. The sooner Simmons embraces this, the better.