Why was Ben Simmons booed in his home debut with the Brooklyn Nets?
The Australian All-Star is finally back on the court, but it was pretty obvious in his debut that the fans of his former team aren’t happy about it.
The Australian will likely be wondering if fate had a hand in writing the script, that saw his debut for his new team come against his old one.
Ben Simmons debuts for Nets against 76ers, his former team
It was quite a night for the Nets’ Ben Simmons. Not only was it the first time he was playing for his new team, but as luck would have it, he had to do so against the team which he left in controversial circumstances last season. Indeed, on a night when the Nets were put down by the Philadelphia 76ers 127-108, it was Simmons who took center stage with his debut and by all accounts, not everyone present was happy to see him. With his six points on the night, the Australian was actually subjected to quite a few boos from the crowd, despite the fact that they were playing in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. In case you didn’t know, Simmons missed the entire 2021-22 season due to a back issue. It was during that time that he was traded from Philadelphia to Brooklyn after demanding a trade.
Interestingly, the 76ers actually rested their biggest stars with Joel Embiid and James Harden the noticeable absences on the roster. On the other hand, the Nets brought their best with the likes of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and of course, Simmons on the court. Though this was just a pre-season game it was interesting to note the experimentation in play in both lineups. The Nets for their part started with Simmons, Durant, Irving, Joe Harris and Nic Claxton, while the Sixers opened with Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris and Paul Reed.
How did Ben Simmons play and why was he booed?
When considering the fact, that it was the first time that Simmons was playing in just over a year, credit has to be given to the three-time All-Star. In the 19 minutes that he played in the first half, Simmons was able to get himself six points, five assists, four rebounds and one steal. He shot 3-for-6 from the field and 0-for-2 from the free-throw line. Indeed, it was his shooting from the ‘charity stripe’ that seemed to draw the ire of the 76ers fans in attendance. The Philly faithful made themselves heard with an immense chorus of boos.
To be clear, this was a player who was clearly lacking in game sharpness. On the other hand, he still managed to offer up a dunk, a crafty no-look pass and of course his dogged defense that he’s become well known for. Some key points to note, were the fact that he was switched from point guard to center for a period of time and seemed to handle the change with ease. The debate over his play was of course all across social media and will likely continue, but it was certainly interesting to see the manner in which he took to his new team and teammates. Indeed, given that Simmons will now be playing with players who are known for their shooting sharpness such as Durant, Irving, Joe Harris and Seth Curry, could it be that he’s found an environment in which he can thrive? Given that the Nets’ will now have someone who can take on a greater defensive burden, we’re banking on the idea that it might just be the case. Regardless, you can look for Simmons and the Nets this coming Friday when they host the Miami Heat at home.