Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving react to Ben Simmons' Nets debut
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Kevin Durant acknowledged that it was expected for Ben Simmons to feel some nerves in his first game back. On Monday night, Simmons made his Brooklyn Nets debut and played his first game in 15 months. Simmons had an all-around performance in his first game back as he scored six points, dished out five assists, and grabbed four rebounds in the Nets 127-108 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
"Being away for a year, you get a lot of anxiety not playing," Durant said. "I know I did. Just anxious to see how I'm playing, where I'm going to play, what my role is on the team. But as a fan of the game, Kawhi [Leonard] being back is great for basketball, Jamal Murray being back is great for basketball, all the guys that have been out injured and being able to play again, it's a great feeling seeing them out there."
Durant, Kyrie Irving on Simmons
On Monday night, the Nets' star trio Simmons, Durant, and Irving debuted in the starting lineup.
When the Nets traded for Simmons in February, they were hoping he, Durant, and Irving would form the next star trio in the NBA. "I was telling him at halftime, when you're playing with some high-level players, despite what you heard, we're going to make the game easy for you," Irving said.
"And he's going to love playing with us. He's going to love getting up and down the floor with us. But for him to be out there for his first day, and for us to experience it with him, is something that we can remember for the rest of the season as something that we got through.
It's day one, highly anticipated. Glad it went his way tonight." Because Simmons is surrounded by Durant and Irving, the pressure is not on him to create opportunities on every possession. Simmons seems to already like his new environment.
"It was fun messing up because I know how good we can be," Simmons said. "And seeing just different looks and opportunities there with Kevin and Ky and Joe [Harris]. Seeing where they want the ball and just how things are going to work and flow.
But the only way you learn is to make mistakes so I had a few out there tonight and I can go back and watch film and say I know what I did wrong and how to fix that. So it's all a learning process for me so it's good."