Ben Simmons is excited about what he can accomplish alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets as he prepares to return to the court after sitting out the entire 2021-22 season.
The three-time NBA All-Star discussed his outlook with the Nets, who acquired him in a February trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, during an appearance on The Old Man and The Three podcast (around 44-minute mark).
"I think this team right now is just a great fit for what I do and what I bring to the game," Simmons said. "I feel like it's Philly on steroids kind of in terms of what we have. ... It's exciting knowing I'm going to play with those guys and knowing their games—I don't have to f--king guard Kyrie and Kevin."
Simmons skipped the start of last season with the Sixers to focus on his mental health. He was expected to return following his trade to the Nets, but he suffered a back injury that required surgery in May.
He posted a picture in late June with the caption: "Feeling incredible."
While Simmons recovered, Brooklyn navigated a drama-filled summer. Durant requested a trade and Irving also became the focus of trade rumors, mostly linking him to a potential reunion with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers.
KD rescinded his request after the Nets didn't receive the type of offers they wanted for the 12-time All-Star, and the Kyrie speculation faded away once it became clear the team wasn't heading toward a full-scale rebuild.
Questions remain about whether the roster can come together to maximize its potential, but from a pure talent perspective, Brooklyn can challenge any team in the NBA.
Durant, Irving and Simmons are joined by Seth Curry, Joe Harris, Patty Mills, Cam Thomas, Royce O'Neale, T.J. Warren, Nic Claxton, Day'Ron Sharpe and Markieff Morris.
It's a group that features both the high-end star power and the necessary depth to seriously contend for a championship.
Whether that'll actually come to fruition depends heavily on whether chemistry can be built, both on the floor and in the locker room.
It's a great sign for Brooklyn that Simmons, whose ability to reestablish himself as one of the league's top distributors and defenders will be crucial to the club's success, is sounding an optimistic tune.
The Nets tip off the regular season Oct. 19 when they host the New Orleans Pelicans at the Barclays Center.