Ben Simmons gets real on what excites him about 2023-24 Nets roster

Ben Simmons has not been shy about his expectations for himself amid his newfound health ahead of the 2023-24 season. After spending the offseason training in Miami, Simmons said he’s “the strongest he’s been” during his time with the Brooklyn Nets. The three-time All-Star opened up Monday about what excites him most about Brooklyn’s new-look roster:

“I think just playing with guys who are easy to play with,” Simmons told Fox 5 New York. “Who just have one goal, and that’s to win. I don’t think guys have too many individual goals.”

Simmons will join a Brooklyn core predominately in the same age range, with Mikal Bridges (26), Cam Johnson (27), Nic Claxton (24), and Spencer Dinwiddie (30) headlining the roster. The Nets also have established veterans in Royce O’Neale and Dorian Finney-Smith, as well as several young, athletic signings in Lonnie Walker IV (24), Dennis Smith Jr. (25), Darius Bazley (23) and Trendon Watford (22).

After undergoing surgery on a herniated disc last offseason, Simmons missed three extended periods during the first half of 2022-23 due to knee, calf and back ailments. He was forced out at the All-Star break and later shut down due to a nerve impingement in his back. In 42 games, the former number-one pick averaged 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists.

Simmons said last month that his offseason in Miami consisted of 5-6 hour training days, Monday through Friday, as he attempts to regain the physically dominant form of his All-Star seasons:

“This is the first summer I’ve really had to just get healthy and get back on track to where I need to be,” he said Monday. “Not being able to do my job to the fullest (was the hardest part of last season)… I was dealing with an injury at the time, so I did what I could in the moment. I owe it to everybody, the fans and everybody, to get back to where I need to be. That's what I did this summer.”

Simmons is Brooklyn’s highest-paid player at $78 million over the next two seasons. The Nets will open training camp in two weeks, with opening night set for October 25th vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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