Ben Simmons finally made his long-awaited debut for the Nets last night in Brooklyn against his former team, the Philadelphia 76ers.
Simmons, who hasn't played since the 2021 playoffs, had six points, four rebounds and five assists in Philly's 127-108 loss.
His first point as a Net came on a Kyrie Irving assist on a fastbreak.
“It's great to be back. I'm just blessed and grateful to be back on the floor playing with these guys. So, I'm happy,” Simmons said in an interview after the game.
Overall, it was tough. I think there's a lot of room for improvement, especially defensively. It's a whole new team, but there's a lot of upside," Simmons said.
Simmons shot 50 percent from the field on six shots in just over 19 minutes of play.
Simmons, Irving and Kevin Durant played together. Sixers Tyrese Maxey led all scorers with 20 points.
It's been a long journey since Simmons was traded by the Sixers to suiting up for the Nets.
The 26-year-old was initially cleared to play in Game 2 against the Celtics last April, but never suited up.
I'm not going to be able to say anything about it because I'm not sure how he's going to get these weeks," Nash said last April, via ESPN. "We have to consider it a nine-month absence or whatever it is, so it's not like that.
That he had a six-week absence, so I think it's a pretty unique scenario. It's not as linear as other types of in-season injuries."
Simmons is entering his seventh year in the league averaging 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game, but has played just four seasons so far, sitting out his rookie year due to a foot injury.
NBA general managers project the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers as the title favorites for the 2022-23 season, according to the NBA App GM survey.
Bucks received 43% of the vote; Franchise superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo was also voted the league's best power-forward and the player GMs most want to build a franchise.