When Ben Simmons first arrived in Brooklyn, he and the team both said it would take him some time to get back in the space mentally to play. Then back problems arose, delaying his return further.
Now, according to Shams Charania, it's both.
Per Charania via Bleacher Report, "Ben Simmons told Nets leadership that a mental block for him to play is creating stress as a trigger point for his back issues." Adding, "Nets players and coaches wanted Simmons to show 'resolve' and play in this series, even if it was for limited minutes."
The latest turn in the Ben Simmons saga comes after the Nets were swept by the Celtics in the opening round of the playoffs.
Simmons has not touched an NBA floor since the 76ers elimination game last season; after which he felt he was unjustly thrown under the bus by head coach Doc Rivers and co-star Joel Embiid.
After refusing to play for the Sixers, he was eventually traded to the Nets in exchange for 10-time All-Star James Harden. And while Harden has been a shell of his former MVP-self, Simmons absence has made it look like another home run move for GM Daryl Morey.
Many basketball analysts such as Charles Barkley, suggested that Nets teammates would start giving Ben Simmons the side-eye for not even attempting to play.
And according to Charania's sourcing, that's indeed what happened.