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Report: There’s ‘Frustration’ Within The Nets About Ben Simmons ‘Availability And Level Of Play’

Ben Simmons hasn’t looked like himself for much of this season. The former No. 1 overall pick and All-NBA guard has struggled to get used to life as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, while his first time stepping onto the basketball court since his tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers came to an end following the 2021 playoffs has featured a player, unsurprisingly, needing to work off a ton of rust.

According to a new report by Sam Amick and Shams Charania of The Athletic, this has started to ruffle some feathers within the Nets organization. Amick and Charania report that “frustration surrounding Simmons had been building in recent weeks” over his “availability and level of play.” It has gotten to a point that Simmons’ “passion for the game” has been called into question.

Simmons apparently was a point of emphasis during a recent players-only meeting, per the report, with Markieff Morris singling him out and stressing how important it is that he plays at a high level if the team is going to have success.

The level of exasperation toward Simmons bubbled to the surface on Oct. 29 when the Nets held a players-only meeting following a loss to the Pacers at Barclays Center. Sources with direct knowledge of the meeting, but who were granted anonymity so that they could speak freely say that in that meeting, Markieff Morris — a veteran leader on these Nets — spoke up in front of all of his teammates about how they need Simmons to succeed and that he has to respond when he deals with adversity on the court. Those sources all described a meeting where Simmons appeared to take Morris’ words in stride and was responsive and attentive throughout.

Simmons has played in 10 of the Nets’ 15 games this season due to lingering knee issues. His last four appearances have all come in a role off the bench, and in 28.6 minutes a night, Simmons is averaging 5.8 points on 48.1 percent shooting with 6.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. All of those numbers are career-worst marks.

In a conversation with The Athletic, Simmons unsurprisingly pushed back against all of this, saying that he’s dealt with swelling in his knee. Among the list of things he’s needed to try and get it right are platelet-rich plasma injections, while he’s had blood drained from it recently.

“I get (the skepticism), but I think the one thing with me is that I’m a competitor,” Simmons said. “I want to win and play. So I’m gonna do what I can to get out there.”