Nets’ Ben Simmons on fit with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, plus possible return date

Ben Simmons was involved in the biggest deal at this season’s trade deadline, with the 76ers trading him to the Nets for James Harden. Now that the trade is official, Simmons was introduced to the media as a member of the Nets for the first time on Tuesday.

Simmons has yet to play in a game this season. There is still no specific timetable for his return — “I don’t have a date yet but I’m starting to ramp it up,” he said — but he sounds excited to share the floor with both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.

When asked about their fit together, Simmons said that he thinks “it’s going to be scary.”

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“Having those guys running alongside me, multiple different weapons on the floor,” Simmons said. “At the pace we want to play at, it’s going to be unreal.”

The No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Simmons has developed into one of the league’s best young stars. He’s earned three All-Star selections and one All-NBA Third Team selection to this point of his career, boasting averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. Simmons is a one-man wrecking crew in transition and has established himself as an elite defender, having finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season.

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Simmons said that he hopes to play the way he did early in his career in Brooklyn, mentioning specifically Philadelphia’s first-round series with Miami in the 2018 NBA Playoffs when he played alongside J.J. Redick, Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli.

“I think it’s just staying aggressive, playing to my strengths and that’s being a playmaker and making the right plays, setting my guys up. And then defensively, obviously, locking down who I need to lockdown.

“I’m excited to get on the floor with these guys. Incredible team, incredible talent.”

Having lost nine of their last 10 games, the Nets currently are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 30-27 record. Durant remains out with an MCL sprain and as it currently stands, Irving, who is with the team on a part-time status, is only eligible to play in eight more games.

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