The Brooklyn Nets were eliminated Monday night in a sad and depressing way. Swept home with a large section of the crowd cheering for the Celtics. Swept home after Kevin Durant missed a crucial free throw. Swept home with Kyrie Irving, played by Marcus Smart. Swept at home after shrinking in this series as mental dwarfs.
There were many symbols of the disaster that unfolded for the Nets this season, too many to detail in this column space. They are all disturbing to anyone who has a share in the future of this franchise. But no one feels more ominous than the absence of Ben Simmons.
He was nowhere to be seen on the Nets bench, not even to cheer on his teammates while wearing his usual DNP Elton John clothes. We got a new reason why Simmons did not play in Monday’s 116-112 defeat, an absence that ensured he missed the entire season. Simmons apparently has to deal with a mental problem, or, as coach Steve Nash vaguely mentioned, “there is a mental component to everything.”
We knew there could have been a problem with Simmons’ main room after his fall in Philadelphia. That’s the basis for filing a complaint to get nearly $ 20 million back in salary from the Sixers. OK fine. Apart from three things: 1) GM Sean Marks should have considered this issue, along with Simmons’ propensity for back pain before switching to a player with three years left on a maximum contract, 2) Why should there be an expectation, after a whole year where he was unable to play through this “mental component”, Simmons will ever return to court, let alone at the same All-Star level a few seasons ago, and 3) Nets and Steve Nash are it not credible. They’ve lost all credibility this season, and it’s not meant to be insensitive to what Simmons is going through. They are supposed to shout Nets for their lies and misleading.
Take what they say with a pinch of salt. That includes after Monday night’s loss, where Nash claimed that a team with title hopes performed appropriately given the off-field drama. Nash’s bar was apparently lowered to the floor.
“When you put it together, it’s hard to say we underperformed,” Nash said.
Do you remember when Nash claimed that everything was great with James Harden and that he would not be traded? About a week later, Harden was traded. Do you remember when Sean Marks and Joe Tsai jumped on their elevated horses and declared that Kyrie Irving would not be accepted as a part-time player? You know the rest.
Irving’s decision to give up the vaccine should always be judged on how the team performed in the playoffs, and on Monday it was used as a reason to be swept.
“It’s just really emotionally heavy this season. We all felt it,” Irving said. “I felt like I was really failing the team when I could not play. It became a distraction. “
Nash has been under a lot of attention and rightly based on his overwhelming playoff series. But the problems go much deeper than the coach.
GM Sean Marks did a fine job of building the foundation for a young team many years ago, and he followed in the footsteps of Kenny Atkinson’s player development. And after Irving and Durant conspired to sign Brooklyn in 2019, Marks still had solid young players and future first-round picks to craft a champion.
Except that Marks confused it.
The supporting roles around Durant and Irving are somehow worse than they were three years ago. Most of it is about the Simmons disaster or the James Harden disaster – depending on how you want to blame it.
Either way, the result was a first-round sweep, a wasted year and a missing Ben Simmons.