Like a well-timed magic act, Ben Simmons soon might finally appear for the Brooklyn Nets.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Simmons could take the floor for the first time this season in the middle of Brooklyn’s upcoming first-round series of the NBA playoffs with the Boston Celtics.
“I am told that Ben Simmons is targeting Games 4, 5 or 6 for making his Brooklyn Nets debut,” Windhorst said on “Get Up” on Thursday morning.
Windhorst said he was “taken aback” when he heard of Simmons’ possible return given that Simmons sat out all regular season in part due to a back injury and hasn’t played in a game since last June. Per Windhorst, Simmons still is working his way back and hasn’t participated in any 5-on-5 basketball activities, but there’s a hope building he could make himself ready sooner rather than later.
“The hope is by the end of the week he can ramp up to (5-on-5),” Windhorst said. “That is still some time. We’re still talking about over seven days.”
If Simmons, who was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Nets in February, is able to get back on the court, he could help stabilize a woeful Nets defense, which is bottom third in the NBA in defensive rating (112.3).
That still will be an immediate tall task for the three-time All-Star, but it is something the Celtics need to keep their eyes on with the firepower the Nets already have on their roster.
“It’s a big ask, but I have to say, that really for seven, eight weeks now, I’ve heard nothing but pessimism on the Ben Simmons front and that has switched dramatically in the last few days,” Windhorst said. “So, right now, I have to report that it is possible we will see Ben Simmons in this series against the Celtics.”
The Celtics and Nets open up their playoff series at TD Garden on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.