Ben Simmons started off Wednesday night in Milwaukee with an aggressive mindset, but things tapered off in the second half as Giannis Antetokounmpo took matters into his own hands. The Bucks handled the Nets 110-99 behind the Greek Freak's 43 points.

Simmons' lack of offensive aggressiveness and defensive presence was abundantly clear in the contest

In speaking with reporters post game, Simmons revealed a possible reason for why he lost a bit of a physical and mental edge.


 The former Sixer is in his first games back in nearly two years after offseason back surgery. The Nets host the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night. 

The injury appear to take place in the second quarter as Simmons landed awkwardly, but he stayed in the game and played through the setback. 

It's unclear if the injury is related to his surgically repaired back and while he indicates he plans to play on Thursday night against Dallas, it might behoove the Nets to be extra conservative with him in the early season.

 




 So far, Ben Simmons looks like a player who hasn't played regular season basketball for over a year.

 

The Nets point guard wasn't acquired for his scoring prowess, but his offensive numbers are downright ugly.

Brooklyn was hoping that Simmons' defense, rebounding and playmaking would be a major asset, but on Wednesday night, Giannis Antetokounmpo played bully ball to the tune of 43 points and 14 rebounds as the Nets lost by 11 in Milwaukee.

Head coach Steve Nash was ejected in the third quarter after arguing a defensive foul call on Patty Mills. Simmons' rust and the Nets lack of overall offensive and defensive continuity have them sitting at the bottom of the Eastern conference at 1-3 to start the year.

 


Standing at a record of 1-2,  not all hope is lost for the Brooklyn Nets, but the clock is ticking.

Steve Nash's job security has long been in question, especially after Kevin Durant went directly to owner Joe Tsai to issue an ultimatum: fire Nash and Sean Marks or trade me.

After the dust settled, neither outcome transpired with Durant returning to the fold with the current regime, yet the Nets are doing more losing than winning in the early season.

The reality is this Nets team is held together by a thread. That common thread is trying to win a championship and three games in is not exactly a barometer of where this team will be come June. 

But if things don't start trending in the right direction and quickly look for Steve Nash to continue to be on the hot seat.

Brooklyn faces as toughest test yet on Wednesday night as it takes on the Milwaukee Bucks.

 



Three games into the season the Brooklyn Nets sit at 1-2 with a lot left to be desired by their fan base.



The Nets allowed 130 points in a lopsided opening night home loss to New Orleans only to bounce back with a strong 109-105 win over Toronto last Friday night. Brooklyn's defensive deficiencies reared its ugly head again on Monday in Memphis as the Grizzles poured in 134 enroute to a 10-point win.

First year point guard Ben Simmons has fouled out in both the team's losses, while the offense has looked discombobulated with a rusty Simmons trying to find his niche.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Nets season has been the lack of defensive connectivity as opponents are scoring at will.

The Nets face perhaps their stiffest challenge yet as they tangle with the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

As Brooklyn aims to climb back in the win column, attention to detail and defense will go a long way and determining how far the Nets go this season. 


photo by Doug Bearak 



 The Nets had a successful Practice-in-the-Park session on Monday with a record of over 8,000 fans looking to catch a glimpse or a free t-shirt from their favorite player.


While the festivities appeared to be enjoyed by all, one fan video went viral as it caught Ben Simmons jacking up a haphazard jump shot that failed to catch iron.



 This drew more than a few snickers from Nets detractors and Simmons haters as Brooklyn's point guard looks to refine his less than stellar shooting stroke.

Head coach Steve Nash already told reporters this preseason that he won't need Simmons to shoot jumpers as his primary roles will be defending, rebounding and facilitating to Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the team's prolific scorers.

While Simmons' shooting deficiencies will draw laughs from the masses, the real concern after two preseason games is his lack of explosiveness after off-season back surgery and his mounting turnovers as he tries to get acclimated with his new teammates.




Nets fans aren't panicking just yet, but maybe they should be. 

After committing 26 turnovers and looking disjointed for a second straight outing in the preseason, Brooklyn looks to have more than a few kinks to work out ahead of the start of the regular season. 

 The Nets were outplayed in every facet by a Miami club that brought defensive physicality and sharp execution to the tune of a 109-80  drubbing.

Kevin Durant finished with 22 points and 4 rebounds, Ben Simmons 4 points, 4 assists, 10 rebounds and 6 careless turnovers. 

 Kyrie Irving sat out Thursday's contest, so Brooklyn was basically noncompetitive from the opening tip. Steve Nash has shifted away from isolation basketball to a more team centric approach predicated on ball movement and man movement. 

 Theoretically, this is the best adjustment the Nets can make, but through two preseason games a lot more has gone wrong than has gone right with the regular season opener less than two weeks away.

 

Photo by Andrew Bernstein

Photo by Andrew Bernstein

Some interesting news has been trickling out of the NBA commoner's office this week as the league may consider expanding into additional cities in the near future.

The Supersonics, who were stationed in Seattle from 1967-2008, could see a revival along with adding a club in the hottest growing market in the country in Las Vegas. 


With both cities being located in the Western market, a realignment of divisions would be in order to create even teams in both conferences.

LeBron James has thrown his hat in the ring and called for dibs on a potential Vegas club, while Adam Silver insists that the expansion still is years away.

The question many fans are wondering that followed the Nets in the Garden State is: what about New Jersey?

The Nets, who were founded in 1967 as the New Jersey Americans and played at the Teaneck Armory, spent one season there before moving to Long Island as the rebranded Nets starting in 1968.



The Nets then returned to Jersey in 1977, where they remained for the next 35 years until the move to Brooklyn in 2012.

The Nets had trouble drawing fans when stationed at the Meadowlands due to a lack of public transportation and area attractions in the swamp. The now -defunct Xanadu project lost funding during the Nets stay at the then-IZOD Center as it sat for years half-developed as an eyesore.

Now, the American Dream mall has been built with countless activities, along with a transit line to send fans to and from Secaucus Junction. All the infrastructure and amenities the Nets were hoping for during their stay in East Rutherford are now up and running.

The IZOD Center is still standing, even though it's not used for concerts or sporting events, just merely, filming for television and movies.

The reality is all the pieces are in place for New Jersey to make a bid for another team in the future. 

The question will remain if the politicians in office, lobbyists and pubic at large will make enough waves and show enough support to get the NBA and Silver's attention. A return of NBA basketball to the Garden State is viable, and a renaissance in the swamp is what many basketball diehards are rooting for and hoping for in the near future.



 


Without making any excuses for Steve Nash, who is entering his third year as Nets head coach, injuries, vaccine compliance and players in and out of the lineup have all been commonplace in Brooklyn since his arrival.

Brooklyn will need to find a happy medium  where it can manage its stars minutes, but build enough cohesion as an overall unit to form a powerful team.

Durant was overtaxed last season without Kyrie Irving for large chunks of the year and then James Harden after he jetted out of town.

The 34 year old Durant will need enough run with new teammates, but enough rest to stay fresh for a playoff push.

 Irving has also shown to be an injury prone player and was a shell of his former self in the playoffs when conditioning and fatigue impacted his performance beyond the play-in game and Game 1 against the Celtics.

The delicate balance will be a challenge for Nash as he'll also have a trio of veterans rehabbing their respective injuries in Joe Harris, Seth Curry and T.J. Warren.

Brooklyn may need to play deep into their bench in the early season until the big guns are fully healthy.

So while Nets fans want to see the fully healthy and committed version of this club playing day in and day out, Nash and Marks will certainly keep an eye on the biggest picture, that being keeping his stars healthy, but conditioned enough to compete for a championship come playoff time.



Photo by Doug Bearak


 Not much can be gleaned from NBA preseason action, unless of course certain things are completely egregious.

Tuesday night's 127-108 loss against the majority of Philadelphia's backups falls into the latter category.

With James Harden and Joel Embiid watching in street clothes, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris and a cast of reserves severely outplayed Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Joe Harris and Nic Claxton in the first quarter.



After going down 42-26 at the end of the first frame, Brooklyn showed some life in the second quarter, but a disjointed offense and lack of close-outs on defense put the Nets in a massive early hole they couldn't overcome.

The only flashes on brilliance came during the times the Nets were able to get defensive stops to produce easy transition points. 

But as far as half court offense and defensive rotations are concerned, Steve Nash's fingerprints were absent from the on-court product.

There have already been rumblings about Nash's job security this season and if the team continues this trend in the preseason and into the regular season, changes could be coming sooner than later in Brooklyn.

Durant's trade request this past June was made in part based on Nash's decision-making last season, Sean Marks' roster maneuvering and the overall trajectory of the franchise. Things cannot continue to go down this course because if they do, either Nash will be on the chopping block or Durant may ask out yet again.


Ben Simmons looked like a guy who hadn't played in an NBA game since June 20, 2021, when he took the floor on Monday night opposing his old squad, Philadelphia. With no Harden or Embid on the floor, the Sixers outscored the Nets 42-26 in opening quarter. Simmons was active on the boards and a willing passer, but misfired on both his free throw attempts and missed all his shot attempts outside the paint. The results were pretty much as expected for a player who has struggled to hit shots consistently from the field, but makes plays for others. 

 All told, the Nets were outplayed by Sixers reserves, but Simmons was able to shake off the rust as Brooklyn narrowed the gap to three points by halftime. 

 Head coach Steve Nash indicated that he won't need Simmons to shoot from the perimeter or do anything outside his comfort zone as the Nets have several prolific scorers on the roster to power their offense.

 Be careful what you tweet about Kevin Durant because he might just reply and roast you in front of a massive audience.

The Nets superstar took aim at a few random Twitter accounts nitpicking his place among NBA greats.


The chatter didn't stop there as Durant made a point of putting mere mortals in their rightful place yet again.


Durant is notorious for mixing it up with trolling fans on Twitter and while the Nets' leader is a surefire Hall of Famer, he's not all that thin-skinned when it comes to criticism.

As a public figure in the most esteemed basketball league in the planet, criticism is part of the job description. 


Durant can push back on all the casuals as much as he wants, but his play and the Nets' performance this year is the only thing that will ultimately impact his legacy.

 

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