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Who did not see this coming?

4 video games into the season, Kyrie Irving is yelling at Ben Simmons to shoot the ball. The sturdy suggestion befell Wednesday in the course of the Brooklyn Nets’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks. With the Nets leading, 60-50 early in the third quarter, Irving attacked the basket in transition. He found Simmons to his left in the paint and dished the ball to his backcourt mate alongside a message picked up by broadcast mics.

“Shoot it, Ben,” Irving proclaimed.

Ben didn’t shoot it. He instead kicked it out to Kevin Durant at the top of the 3-point line. Durant then dribbled to the free-throw line and pulled up for a jumper.

The play was successful. But the interaction is sure to feed skepticism whether a Nets lineup built around Irving, Simmons and Durant can actually work.

Simmons is not shooting the ball in Brooklyn

Simmons made his Nets debut this month after a falling out with the Philadelphia 76ers led to a deadline trade last season that sent him to Brooklyn. Much of the discord between Simmons and the team that drafted him surrounded his unwillingness to shoot the ball, specifically an open layup he passed up in a playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Four games into his Nets tenure, nothing suggests that Simmons is willing to become a scoring option in Brooklyn. In his first three games, Simmons averaged 5.7 points on 4.3 field goal attempts per game. On Wednesday, he shot 2-for-7 from the field for seven points. The Nets blew their double-digit second-half lead in a 110-99 loss to fall to 1-3.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 24: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets gestures twoards Ben Simmons #10 during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on October 24, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

A new Nets lineup featuring Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons is off to a 1-3 start. (Justin Ford/Getty Images)

How will internal pressure on Simmons play out?

To Simmons’ defense, Wednesday’s bypassed shot in the paint wasn’t equivalent to his infamous decision against the Hawks. After receiving the move, he discovered Giannis Antetokounmpo standing between himself and the basket, sufficient to present even probably the most assured of NBA scorers pause.

It is extra the command from Irving to “shoot it” that is noteworthy. Simmons cited an absence of assist from his 76ers coaches and teammates amid psychological well being struggles as an impetus for his commerce demand.

Irving painted his declaration to Simmons as optimistic assist when requested about it after the sport. He was additionally displeased with having to deal with the topic.

“You guys preserve coming in right here asking me like what about Ben?” Irving stated, per the New York Post’s Brian Lewis. “He hasn’t performed in two years. Give him give him a f***ing likelihood. We keep on his s***. You simply keep on him. However we’re right here to present him optimistic affirmations.”

How Simmons interprets and responds to Irving’s stress — and another that is positive to come back as he declines to shoot — will likely be value watching. With the Nets off to a 1-3 begin, positivity may very well be arduous to come back by.


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