Ben Simmons’ stock continues to rise after the Aussie star produced arguably his best individual performance on Saturday.
The Brooklyn Nets ultimately fell 128-117 to the Indiana Pacers, but the signs from Simmons continued to rise for the franchise.
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The Nets entered the fourth quarter holding a slender six-point lead but fell apart in the final term as they were outscored 40-23.
Four Pacers players finished the contest with 20 points with Buddy Hield leading the charge with a team-high 26 points.
The win takes the Pacers to 10-7 on the season and has them sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Nets fall to 9-10 and are currently 10th in the standings.
Despite the loss it was Simmons’ display that gives fans hope the three-time All Star, after a slow start, is regaining his dominant form.
Simmons ended the contest with 20 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Never known for being a high-scoring player, Simmons has turned the corner of late and shown he isn’t afraid to attack the paint and potentially be sent to the free throw line.
Of Simmons past 50 field goal attempts, the towering guard has knocked down 41 of them. Giving him a seriously impressive 82 per cent shooting clip over that time frame.
Against the Pacers he went a perfect 8/8 from the field.
While the numbers don’t immediately jump off the page and scream of a superstar’s output, Simmons’ impact is more than what’s listed in the box sheet.
Standing at an absurd 208cm tall, the 26-year-old made a name for himself in the league by being able to terrorise opponents defensively.
While defense is his biggest weapon, a close second is his ability to get out in transition and punish teams on the fast break.
He’s shown in recent games that both those traits are getting back to the territory that made him one of the most menacing players in the league. Against the Pacers it was evident for all to see.
Nets Daily reporter Matt Brooks wrote: “Ben Simmons has completely transformed this team in transition”
SI Now reporter Robin Lundberg wrote: “Ben Simmons is a difference maker. Changes the dynamics of the Nets.”
“He’s a different guy,” YES Network’s Ian Eagle noted in the first half, before latter adding he “looks so comfortable on the offensive end” and calling his improved play a “metamorphosis.”
“He has talked about it – the health and feel of his body and how he physically looks,” YES Network’s Sarah Kustok said of Simmons.
“Just that attack mindedness, that’s what you want to see. So much of how Simmons is playing is just him not overthinking. Just playing and reacting, the instinctual nature, like he’s playing with the force.
“What we saw when he was at his best with the 76ers was that. He was a force and he would always look to push the tempo and be on the attack. That’s exactly how he’s been playing.
“These are all the things when Ben first came to Brooklyn, why he would fit along the players of that group.
“You’re starting to see that flourish and you’re starting to see players play with one another, the nuances and wrinkles and understanding where guys want the basketball.
“I think there’s such a great understanding now with different players.”
Kevin Durant led the way for the Nets on Saturday, registering 36 points, 9 rebounds and eight assists.
The loss makes it two defeats in their past three games. They’ll return to the hardwood on Monday when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers at 7am (AEDT).