After a scalding hot stretch that included 18 wins in 21 games, the Brooklyn Nets are in the midst of a rough patch. Kevin Durant is sidelined with injury and, in the first three games without him, the Nets scored less than a point per possession (the worst mark in the NBA) on the way to three straight losses. Brooklyn does have Kyrie Irving to carry a substantial workload but, in short, the Nets’ other star, Ben Simmons, hasn’t quite lived up to the billing on the offensive end, and he had a tough night on Thursday against the Suns.
With the Nets already down 16 points in the third quarter, Simmons was called for his fifth foul in 18 minutes of action, and it came on a moving screen. He didn’t take kindly to the call and, just seconds later, he picked up a pair of technical fouls to earn an ejection and an early trip to the locker room — despite the best efforts of teammate Yuta Watanabe on the bench to keep Simmons from his second.
Ben Simmons got ejected after arguing with ref pic.twitter.com/f1JmYQwdKP
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 20, 2023
Simmons did finish with six assists in 18 minutes, and he has 46 assists combined in his last five games. However, Simmons scored just 33 total points in seven games before Thursday, and he generated only seven points before the ejection in this game.
Obviously, Simmons isn’t a dynamic scoring option at this point. Though he does bring value as a defender and playmaker, it is actively wild to see a player of his stature and salary slot carrying a 14.6 percent usage rate, and the bizarre nature of Simmons’ season continued with this strange exit.