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Nets Notes: Simmons, Durant, Harris


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Ben Simmons understands that it doesn’t take much for him to become a target on social media, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. The latest example was a video of an airball he shot Sunday during the Nets‘ annual outdoor practice at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

“Meanwhile, like 10 guys airballed multiple shots,” Simmons told Friedell. “So it’s like people will find one clip and try to make that everything — like Ben can’t do (this or that). Like come on man, you think I’m just airballing every shot? It’s not true. But it comes with it, and you got to have tough skin and I realize that, but nah, I can’t take everything personally. It’s social media.”

Simmons’ shooting woes with the Sixers, especially from the foul line, made him a target for derision from Philadelphia fans long before his public battle with the team. He hopes to change the narrative about his game this season, and he believes he’s in a more uplifting environment.


“I got support from all these guys, the coaching staff, the organization, so it’s up to me to go out there to do my job now and work. But you know, (Kevin Durant), (Kyrie Irving) have been great to me. Royce (O’Neale) has been phenomenal. It feels like home. It feels normal to be here and come to work. Besides that, we just need to put that work in and build some chemistry.”


There’s more on the Nets:


The team is willing to be patient as Simmons works his way back from a 16-month absence, Friedell adds in a separate story. Simmons had a combined nine assists and eight turnovers in his first two preseason games, and he’s been reluctant to shoot from any sort of distance. “I think for Ben a lot of it is not just the understanding, it’s the reps,” coach Steve Nash said. “He hasn’t played for a long time. He’s coming off of back surgery, so I think there’s some periods of indecision and confidence that he has to gain from playing. All of us do. We can’t take that much time off, join a new group and just figure it out Day 1, so he needs time.”


Durant appeared to get worn down last season and the Nets are hoping to reduce his workload, according to Ethan Sears of The New York Post. Durant averaged 37.2 minutes per game, which was the most he’s played since 2013/14. “Every coach that I play for wants to keep my minutes down,” he said. “But when the game’s tight or you’re not playing well, you’re not gonna look over and say, ‘Well, I wanna keep his minutes down tonight.’ He’s gonna throw me in the game. We’re playing well, my minutes will be down. If we’re not, I’ll play more.” 


Foot soreness has limited Joe Harris to one preseason game, but he’s optimistic that he’ll be ready for the season opener, Friedell tweets.


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