Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash thinks Ben Simmons is doing well mentally. Simmons, who was traded to the Nets at the trade deadline, hasn't played a game this year. Simmons didn't want to play ever again for the Philadelphia 76ers and cited his mental health as the primary reason.
"I think he's in a pretty good place mentally," Nash said, per ESPN. "And if we work with him here, in conjunction with his physical ramp-up, to make sure he's comfortable on and off the floor, I think he'll be ready to play mentally when he's physically ready."
The Nets are assessing Simmons' physical condition and then they will have a clearer picture on when he might be able to join team activities. "That's on the performance team," Nash said. "They're going to walk through an assessment and his return to play and ramp-up and all that.
It's been a long period of non-NBA activity, so we'll see how they put his program together and how long it takes."
The Nets hope to succeed with Simmons
"We have to put him in a position to have the necessary conditioning underneath him and to feel safe with it," Nash said.
"And then he also has to feel confident and comfortable that the time has come. So whenever that is, hopefully there's a great partnership on those decisions." Nash said Simmons will play only when he and the team agree that it's time for him to play.
"I think it has to come naturally," Nash said. "It hurts to suffer like this and lose games. At the same time, we have to have the big picture in mind. And while we go out and try to win every night, we can't skip steps.
We have to be as thoughtful and as methodical with our approach as we can. "And if it all comes together seamlessly, that'd be great; but if not, we stick to our process and continue to build that cohesion and understanding, and whatever time it takes, it takes."
Simmons plays at a very fast pace and the Nets are hoping to benefit from that. "I think we'll be able to play really fast," Nets big man Nic Claxton said after shootaround. "Getting out in transition. We'll definitely be able to switch a lot on defense, having a lot of length out there, have some good groups. And I think it's going to be a lot of fun."