Timeline for Ben Simmons remains unknown, but Nash says he is in a good place mentally

Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons shoots baskets prior to playing the Atlanta Hawks in game six in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at State Farm Arena.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

There’s plenty of excitement for Ben Simmons to make his Nets debut, but for right now it remains unclear when that will be.

While Simmons is in Brooklyn, the Nets do not have a timeline for when he’ll take the court for his new team. Steve Nash told reporters before Monday’s game against the Sacramento Kings that it was on the performance team to determine when exactly Simmons would be ready to play.

“They’re going to walk through an assessment of his return to play and ramp-up and all that,” Nash said. “It’s been a long period of non-NBA activity. We’ll see how they put his program together and how long it takes.”

Simmons was in Brooklyn for Monday’s game and sat on the team bench. The Nets also shared a video of Simmons on social media on the Barclays Center court with Kevin Durant.

The 25-year-old has not played an NBA game this season after asking for a trade from Philadelphia after last year’s playoffs and then reportedly told the Sixers that he wasn’t mentally ready to play. With Simmons in New York, Nash didn’t appear to be too concerned about where Simmons is at with his readiness mentally.

“I think he’s in a pretty good place mentally,” Nash said. “If we work with him here in conjunction with his physical ramp up to make sure he’s comfortable on and off the floor, I think he’ll be ready to play mentally when he is physically ready.”

Nash said that the recovery process has to happen naturally and the team has to keep the big picture in mind.

The Nets could use Simmons as soon as possible having lost 11 straight entering Monday night. Brooklyn is hoping to make it to the NBA All-Star break with some kind of positive momentum.

The idea is to hopefully have Durant back on the floor with them at some point after the break. The combination of the two, along with the additions of Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and a healthier roster, could prove to be the potent mix that Brooklyn has been looking for this season.

“I think Ben is such unique talent that his brilliance is that he does so many things well on the basketball floor,” Nash said. “He’s able to play big and create for others with his size, speed and vision. He’s an incredible player on the fastbreak. He’s an elite defender, incredible rebounder for his position and he can play different spots offensively. … He’s sort of a non-traditional basketball player who gets it done in so many different areas of the game. It’s going to be fun to try to put him in our program and try to help him find his best level.”