Brooklyn Nets point guard Ben Simmons’ poor start to the season has led to skepticism from the Nets organization regarding his motivation.
In other news, the New York Knicks have decided to remove veteran European shooting guard Evan Fournier from their rotation. This comes after the Knicks’ poor defensive start to the season.
On that note, here is the latest news from around the NBA as of Nov. 17, 2022.
Brooklyn Nets growing frustrated with Ben Simmons
The Brooklyn Nets are reportedly growing frustrated with Ben Simmons, according to a report from Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic.
“There has been building frustration surrounding Nets star Ben Simmons’ availability and level of play, sources say,” Charania tweeted.
Charania and Amick’s report added that Simmons has addressed the concerns. The Australian recently highlighted that he has been dealing with injuries but remains a competitor.
“I get (the skepticism), but I think the one thing with me is that I’m a competitor,” Simmons said.
“You’re obviously not going to be happy when anybody’s out. But for me, I’ve been dealing with the knee since the start of the season.
“It’s been swollen. I had PRP (injections). I had blood drained a couple times. So it’s not a made-up thing, you know? It’s a real thing.”
Simmons has only played in 10 games for Brooklyn so far. He has averaged a career-low 5.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
The Brooklyn Nets currently hold a 6-9 record and are 12th in the Eastern Conference. They will likely need more production from the three-time All-Star if they hope to contend for the title this season.
Kevin Durant calls out Brooklyn Nets’ rotation
After the Brooklyn Nets’ embarrassing 153-121 defeat to the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, Bleacher Report released an exclusive interview with Kevin Durant.
Durant spoke about his offseason trade request, his support for new Nets coach Jacque Vaughn and his co-star Kyrie Irving, among other topics. However, one quote in particular went viral where KD appeared to call out many of his Nets teammates.
“Look at our starting lineup. Edmond Sumner, Royce O’Neale, Joe Harris, [Nic] Claxton and me. It’s not disrespect, but what are you expecting from that group?” Durant said.
“You expect us to win because I’m out there. So if you’re watching from that lens, you’re expecting us to play well because No. 7 is out there.”
Most fans may agree with Durant’s assessment of his supporting cast. However, it’s rare to hear a team’s superstar call out their teammates like that. It’s also hard to imagine that the interview will have a positive effect on the struggling Nets’ team chemistry.
Kyrie Irving could return to the Nets on Sunday versus Memphis
In some positive news for the Brooklyn Nets, All-Star guard Kyrie Irving could soon be reinstated by the team following his suspension. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving could return as soon as Sunday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
“Suspended All-Star guard Kyrie Irving is nearing completion on the process needed for a return to play and could rejoin the Brooklyn Nets as soon as Sunday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
Kyrie Irving was suspended for a minimum of five games by the Nets on Nov. 3. This came after Irving failed to offer an acceptable apology for sharing a link to an antisemitic film on Twitter the week before.
Irving was then given a list of requirements to fulfill in order to be reinstated by the team. These included donating to anti-hate causes and meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai to prove he was not antisemitic.
Irving has already missed seven games due to his suspension and is expected to miss his eighth game on Thursday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Nets have gone 4-3 in Irving’s absence.
European star removed from Knicks’ rotation
New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau made some big changes to his rotation on Tuesday night in his team’s 118-111 win over the Utah Jazz. The Knicks played just nine players with wings Evan Fournier and Quentin Grimes removed from the rotation entirely.
“We wanted to see what it would look like and it gave us, I thought, better rhythm. That’s why we did it,” Thibodeau said.
“Just the rhythm of it, you’re learning your team. What works best? Are guys able to get in a rhythm? Those are the questions you ask. That’s why we did it.”
After giving up 145 points in their loss to the OKC Thunder on Sunday, the New York Knicks gave up just 111 points versus Utah. They also had six players score in double figures.
The Knicks then allowed just 103 points against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night as they won 106-103. That put New York back above .500 (8-7). Thibodeau’s rotation changes appear to have paid off so far.
However, benching Evan Fournier, who remains a star in Europe for his home country of France, is still a controversial decision.
The 30-year-old shooting guard is making $18 million this year. He is also coming off a season where he set the Knicks’ franchise record for most 3-pointers in a single season at 241 made threes.
If Fournier’s lack of playing time continues, we could see trade rumors start to heat up.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s game-winning 3-pointer leads Thunder over Wizards
Gilgeous-Alexander tied his career-high with 42 points and hit a game-winning stepback 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining as the Thunder won 121-120.
Following the win, OKC improved to 7-8 and sit 11th in the Western Conference.
The Wizards, meanwhile, were led by big man Kristaps Porzingis, who finished with 27 points and nine rebounds. Following the loss, Washington has dropped to 8-7 and is seventh in the Eastern Conference.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has averaged 32.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.4 blocks per game through 14 games. He also has a hyper-efficient 54.8/40.0/90.6 shooting split.
If he keeps up this level of production, he could be in line to receive his first All-Star selection.