Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons has finally made his long-awaited return to the NBA court this season, but things have not gone according to plan.
Simmons has seemed out of sorts in many games this season, and he is averaging a paltry 5.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists per contest despite playing 31.0 minutes per game.
Though there have been a lot of conversations about the state of Simmons’ mental health and how his past issues in that department have impacted his performances on the floor, Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal is tired of all the apologists.
He recently brushed aside the “mental health theory” when talking about Simmons’ struggles.
“I’m not going to talk about the M.H.T., the mental health theory, because I’m not an expert on that,” he said. “But I know a person that can play and a person that can’t play. I know that.”
It’s a harsh take to be sure, but there is little doubt that O’Neal is echoing a sentiment that a very large portion of NBA fans already agree with.
To make matters worse for Simmons and the Nets, they are currently just 1-4 on the season. It must be hard to regain confidence after more than a year off the NBA court and be thrust onto a team that clearly has serious issues.
With that in mind, it’s not as though the Nets are going to find many sympathizers. Along with Simmons, the Nets have both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on the roster. On paper, the Nets have one of the most top-heavy rosters in the entire league when it comes to talent. However, paper is not where games are won.
If the Nets want to turn things around, they are going to have to figure out what isn’t working for the team at the moment. It’s not much of a mystery that one of the factors that isn’t working is Simmons himself.
If he can return to form and log his career averages of 15.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game, there is no doubt that the Nets would benefit as a team overall. Whether or not that actually ends up happening at all this season very much remains a mystery.