As Brooklyn Nets fans await the debut of Ben Simmons, who the team acquired in a trade last Thursday with the Philadelphia 76ers for James Harden, it may have been overlooked that Seth Curry and Andre Drummond also came to the team in the deal.
Not anymore. Curry scored a Nets’ high 23 points, had seven rebounds and five assists on Monday night, leading Brooklyn to a 109-85 win over the Sacramento Kings at the Barclays Center. It was the Nets’ first win this month, ending an 11-game losing streak. Mount Vernon native Drummond added strong defensive presence and contributed 11 points and nine rebounds. It was Curry and Drummond’s first game since joining the Nets.
“Just play your game and the rest will take care of itself,” was the message Drummond said head coach Steve Nash expressed to him before the game.
Regarding the details of plays and defensive schemes Nash said, “We’ll worry about that later, when we’ve got time to practice. But today’s agenda was just to play as hard as we can and win a game.”
With Simmons on the bench in street clothes, watching his new teammates with Kevin Durant, who is close to returning from an MCL sprain in his left knee sustained Jan. 15 versus the New Orleans Pelicans, the Nets have two of the league’s best players ready to bolster what will be a lethal lineup.
Simmons, who admitted to being mentally in a very dark place some months ago, looked comfortable in his new surroundings. He met with the New York media on Tuesday, addressing a variety of issues, most notably, his mental health and departure from the 76ers.
“It wasn’t about the fans or coaches, or comments made by anybody. It was just a personal thing for me,” said Simmons. “I’m looking forward to getting back on the floor and making something great out here in Brooklyn.”
Simmons nor the Nets have set a date for his official return, but hinted at sometime in early March. “Physically, I feel pretty good. Mentally, I’m getting there,” he said.
As for Harden, he said Philadelphia was his first choice when he sought a trade from the Houston Rockets last season.
“I just knew for a very long time this was a perfect fit,” Harden shared with the press on Tuesday. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”
He went on to indicate that his trade to 76ers and pairing with Joel Embiid was destiny. “I think we complete each other,” said Harden. “The whole world knows how great Joel has been playing. His presence alone is unbelievable. I feel like I’m the same way as far as making my teammates better, and we have a great core of guys.”
The Nets were 30-27 when they faced the Knicks last night and will play the Washington Wizards tonight in Brooklyn before starting the All-Star break.