Ben Simmons had by no means come off the bench a single time in his total NBA profession earlier than this season. However it seems to be and feels like he’d higher get used to it.

Simmons got here off the bench for a 3rd consecutive recreation in Monday’s 124-106 loss to the Knicks. He noticed his minutes decline for the fourth straight, logging simply 12:41 — even that whole padded by rubbish time minutes within the fourth quarter.

“What we would like from every man is to present every thing, each ounce that they’ve obtained, each single recreation,” Jacque Vaughn mentioned. “And all 16 guys are in that bucket.

“And attempting to determine what lineup matches round Ben, what place matches for Ben, how we are able to make him look good at each alternative. That’s the objective, and I’m nonetheless attempting to determine that out. That’s on me to determine it out. However total as a crew, we’re going to attempt to discover lineups to determine it out.”

It’s crucial that they do.

They owe Simmons $37.9 million subsequent season and $40 million in 2024-25, an egregious sum for a backup and an unacceptable quantity for a participant enjoying this poorly.

Ben Simmons goes up for a shot in opposition to the Knicks on Monday evening.
NBAE through Getty Photos

Simmons had simply two factors, three boards and 4 fouls in opposition to the Knicks. Whereas Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving may masks the weaknesses of Simmons enjoying at his finest, the Nets can’t depend on him at his worst.

How can Vaughn discover a non-star lineup that works with Simmons?

“It’s gonna be some work that we’ve got to do, since you simply check out what the lineups may doubtlessly appear like,” Vaughn mentioned. “You place one other massive subsequent to Ben, then you definately’ve gotta work out what the spacing is round him. Then should you put one other playmaker subsequent to Ben, then you definately’ve gotta work out what Ben seems to be like with out the basketball.

“Then should you go small with Ben, then you definately’ve gotta work out are you able to rebound sufficient with him. So the challenges are forward of us. We’ll look them head on. We’ll determine it out. We have now the personnel to determine it out. Whether or not it’s me mixing and matching all through totally different items of the sport and permit him to have a bunch and run with a bunch. That half we’ll work out. However you see the challenges that lie forward.”

Immanuel Shortly is fouled by Ben Simmons on Monday evening.
USA TODAY Sports activities

And so they’re daunting. Simmons is averaging seven factors, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists. However his lack of ability to shoot and unwillingness to drive are an issue, his .439 free-throw proportion scaring him away from contact.

In consequence, he’s seen his enjoying time slashed. The Nets buying different long-armed succesful defenders have made him redundant.

“The whole lot’s been altering all yr, so it’s laborious to actually perceive what’s happening. However hopefully we discover some rhythm and consistency,” Simmons mentioned after morning shootaround. “It’s totally different. It’s a special expertise [coming off the bench]. So regardless of the crew wants from us to win, I’m prepared to do this.

“It’s slightly irritating looking for some rhythm and consistency. However that’s what it’s at this level proper now. Guys have been out and in because of accidents, trades, so there’s been a number of various things that elements into it. Hopefully now we get slightly little bit of a stretch the place we are able to discover some rhythm and consistency.”

Three weeks in the past, Simmons mentioned he was OK getting his fourth-quarter minutes minimize so long as the crew was profitable, however would have a “drawback” if it wasn’t. When requested Monday how Simmons had taken their dialog, Vaughn simply mentioned he informed him he was going to do no matter was in the very best curiosity of profitable.

“I’ll be sincere with the message,” Vaughn mentioned. “You won’t just like the message, anybody that I give the message to, however 10-15 years from now you’ll know that I used to be sincere and up entrance with you.”