Brooklyn Nets playmaker Ben Simmons is no stranger to criticism for his performances on the court, but he knows his teammates are in his corner.
"I'm coming," Simmons said after finishing with 15 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in Thursday's 109-107 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. "I'm getting there, man. It's taking a little bit of time, but I got my own back. My teammates got my back, my coaches."
This season figures to be something of a process for Simmons, especially since he sat out the entire 2021-22 campaign and already missed five games with a swollen left knee.
Perhaps the most notable of his teammates recognized that while praising his "incredible" showing.
"I'm just happy for him because he's been trying to get his form back, trying to figure his rhythm out," Kevin Durant said. "Tonight I think he did a good job just talking up, commanding the offense, commanding the team on the defensive side of the ball. He was incredible tonight. So we're going to keep building on that and hopefully we're able to get this next one, but he controlled the game and was able to get us back into it."
Brooklyn surely saw Simmons doing a little bit of everything as a role player alongside Durant and Kyrie Irving when it traded for him. The presence of the two superstars means less pressure on the LSU product to score, but the two-time All-Defensive first-team selection is still expected to make an impact elsewhere.