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Editor's Pick

Simmons booed in Brooklyn baptism of fire

Ben Simmons scored six points in his Nets debut in Brooklyn’s 127-108 pre-season loss to his former team Philadelphia, drawing boos from the crowd.

After missing the entire 2021-22 season that saw him traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Brooklyn Nets, his first glimpse of court time for his new team came against his former side, albeit from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

While Philadelphia rested Joel Embiid and James Harden, the Nets played their superstars in Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Simmons.

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The Nets started with Simmons, Durant, Irving, Joe Harris and Nic Claxton while the Sixers opened with Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris and Paul Reed.

The three-time All-Star played 19 minutes in the first half and finished with six points, five assists, four rebounds and one steal. He shot 3-for-6 from the field and 0-for-2 from the free-throw line.

It was his shooting from the charity stripe that drew the strongest reaction as 76ers fans rained down boos on him. While the same weaknesses were still there, Simmons mixed in a dunk, a no-look pass and the ability to defend multiple positions as viewers praised and criticised the Australian’s play on social media.

Simmons played seven minutes in the first quarter, finishing with four points and two assists, although he also had two turnovers. He played point-guard with the second unit in that quarter while also switching to centre.

While critics express contempt for his pitfalls, playing for Brooklyn should give the Australian the opportunity to concentrate on his strengths and allow his teammates to shoulder the shooting load.

With players like Durant, Irving, Joe Harris, Seth Curry and fellow Aussie Patty Mills known for their sharp radars from the outside, he can play close to the basket and capitalise on transition offence as well as being a weapon on defence.

Brooklyn plays its next preseason game against Miami at home on Friday AEDT with two road games against Milwaukee and Minnesota next week.

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