Ben Simmons appeared on J.J. Redick’s podcast on Thursday. Here are the most important quotes.
Ben Simmons speaks. It’s been a minute.
On Thursday, J.J. Redick dropped a new episode of The Old Man and the Three, the first episode in two months. He came back with a bang, bringing on Simmons, a former teammate of his, to talk about his journey through the league to this point and everything that happened over the last year and a half.
Simmons, once a Sixer, now a Net, had a rough last season. After a disastrous performance in a series loss to the Atlanta Hawks in 2021 where Simmons shouldered a lot of blame, Simmons requested a trade. Near the deadline, he was moved to the Brooklyn Nets.
Simmons didn’t end up playing at all during the season. In Philly, he cited mental wellness concerns. In Brooklyn as he prepared to get into game shape, he injured his back.
Simmons spoke about everything from college to today. The whole episode is worth a listen, but if you need the important stuff, we’ve got you covered.
Ben Simmons thinks the Nets are far superior to Sixers teams he played on
Some slight shade for the Sixers here! Simmons said this team is far superior to any team he played with in Philly. He specifically cited the team with Ersan Ilyasova and J.J. Redick that won 16 straight regular-season games at the end of the season.
"“The talent we have and the type of players that we have. We’re going to be able to run the floor easily, you know we have Clax who can run, he moves incredibly well. Kev, Patty, Ky, Joe, just got Royce, another great 3-and-D guy. I’m missing people but this team right now is just a great fit for what I do and what I bring to the game. I feel like it’s Philly on steroids kind of. In terms of what we had when you [J.J.] were there and Ersan.”"
This team is clearly more talent-dense than what Simmons was used to. Previously, it was Simmons and Joel Embiid who had to shoulder the load. Simmons can plug in and complement Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant more in this new setting rather than being a focal point.
The most important thing to Ben Simmons is mental health and peace
Much was made about how much money Simmons risked last year by now showing up to practices and games. He doesn’t care at all.
"“I don’t give a f— about the money. I don’t care about the money. It’s not about the money for me now. Like, I want peace and happiness. Like, I wanna be in a good place. And that, if that costs me whatever it costs, that’s what it costs. My peace is more valuable than, you know, money.”"
That doesn’t mean Simmons isn’t going to at least try to recoup some of that money, though:
Ben Simmons wouldn’t do things differently
After the turmoil Simmons experienced in the last year and a half, most would expect he would want to rewrite the script completely if afforded the opportunity. Not the case:
"“No, because I wouldn’t be here. I don’t think, you could say, ‘yeah, I wish I went up and dunked the ball,’ like, cause that was the whole game. Like come on. Nah, I think if I didn’t go through what I’ve gone through the last year, or and a half, then I wouldn’t be where I’m at now. And I think I needed to go through all that and have those experiences to be where I’m at now.”"
Simmons certainly sounds ready to write the next chapter but as far as what’s happened? It’s in the past. Clearly.
Ben Simmons called out Shaq
Here’s what he had to say about O’Neal:
"“I DM’d him and I was like, ‘why are you saying this if you don’t even know the story?’ ‘Cause he always wants to say like yo, we’re LSU brothers, you’re my brother, all this, that. If you’re my LSU brother you would’ve reached out by now and it’s been months since I’ve been dealing with this. You ain’t reached out once and said like, ‘hey, you OK? Like, what’s going on.’”"
Ben Simmons is excited to play for Nets, and here’s what he thinks about 3-pointers
Ben Simmons sounds like he’s in a great headspace going into the season.
"“It’s gonna be sick. I can’t wait. I’m so excited, changed my number, got a new number, new jersey, I’m just looking forward to it. I think you know, we have a special team. I think if we, you know, get it all together, we’re gonna be champions. So that’s the end goal. If you wanna make a comeback, put on the jersey, feel free. But, yeah, I’m excited, it’s New York City, you know I’m playing with some unbelievable players.”"
Simmons also mentioned he’s going to shoot threes. He joked he would shoot five a game even if Durant was wide open. You love to hear it.
Of course, getting it all together makes the Nets one of the most talent-dense teams in the league, but that’s easier said than done. The Nets rarely saw Irving, Durant, and Harden on the floor together when they were teammates. Durant is cordial with the team for now, but will that last?
It remains to be seen. At least the Nets know Simmons is locked in.
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