Nets: How will Jacque Vaughn use the returning Ben Simmons?

Alder Almo
Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets
Oct 19, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons (10) controls the ball against New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets are set to welcome Ben Simmons back when they go for a third straight win in Dallas.

The Nets are 3-1 since Simmons went down with left knee soreness. They have won their last two games with MVP-type performances from Kevin Durant and Cam Thomas emerging as Robin to his Batman.

They have drawn tremendous effort from their role players.

One of them is Japanese forward Yuta Watanabe, who stepped up in Simmons’ absence. He had seen an increased role, averaging 9.3 points on an incredible 53 percent from 3 and 63 percent overall from the field with 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 24.4 minutes without Simmons.

Another role player who could take a hit is Edmond Sumner, who averaged 6.8 points and 1.8 assists in 19.2 minutes in the four games without Simmons.

Simmons will likely eat up into their minutes.

“Yeah, I’ll be in (Monday). I’ll be in; I think I’ve got like 20 minutes [restriction]. I feel great. It took a few days to get some rehab in; get it right. So I’m feeling great.”

Ben Simmons via NY Post

Simmons has not yet returned to his All-Star form since a 470-day layoff due to mental health issues and back problems. He averaged 6.2 points, 7.2 assists, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.2 steals while shooting 44 percent on 5.7 attempts, both career lows in, his first six games. At times, he was tentative in attacking the rim and taking a shot.

“I don’t want to make that as an excuse, but I had a swollen knee. It is what it is, but it’s taken care of now, so I’m glad I’m moving (well).”

“I think overall if you have something you’re doing on your left side, it typically affects your right side. I had a lower right back injury so it’s probably a part to it. But as time goes on I need to stay on my strength in terms of left and right knee. And then obviously continue to do the work I’ve been doing on my back.”

Ben Simmons via NY Post

It will be interesting to see how interim coach Jacque Vaughn will use Simmons.

Under erstwhile Nets coach Steve Nash, Simmons served as point guard next to Irving and as a playmaker center with the second unit.

While Simons will be on a minute restriction, more will be expected from him moving forward, given the uncertainty of Kyrie Irving’s situation.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo