The Brooklyn Nets dramatically reshaped their roster with a blockbuster trade on an eventful NBA trade deadline day.
In a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Nets acquired the versatile Ben Simmons, already a three-time All-Star at the age of 25, along with two players who rank among the best in league history in their areas of excellence in Seth Curry and Andre Drummond. Brooklyn also received two first round draft picks while sending James Harden and Paul Millsap to Philadelphia.
“Excited to incorporate these new guys into our group,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash after Thursday night’s 113-112 loss in Washington. “I think they fill needs for us and should be an exciting time for us to reset and to rebuild and to hopefully put together a really competitive and terrific team in a short period of time.”
Simmons, a 6-foot-11 guard who was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, brings one of the league’s most unique player profiles to Brooklyn — an elite playmaker and defender with a center’s size. Over his four previous NBA seasons — he missed the 2016-17 season after being drafted due to an injury — Simmons has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game while shooting 56 percent and compiling 32 triple-doubles, ranking 13th in NBA history.
He was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team each of the past two seasons and to the All-Star Game each of the past three and was an All-NBA Third Team selection in 2019-20. Simmons also was the NBA Rookie of the Year for the 2017-18 season.
“We want him to do a lot of things for us,” said Nash. “I think that’s his gift is that he’s an incredibly athletic defender who is a creative passer, incredible in transition and can also playmake out of pick and roll as a roller. I think he can be dynamic for us in a lot of ways. I think he fits our group really well and I think it’s really exciting to take on such a talented player who’s ready to enter the second stage of his career and hopefully we can help him take a jump.”
Curry has carved out an impressive resume after going undrafted in 2013 and battling his way through 10-day contracts and G League stints with minimal NBA playing time over his first two seasons. He’s now fifth in NBA history and second among all active NBA players — trailing only new teammate Joe Harris — with a 43.7 career shooting percentage from 3-point range.
He’s shot at least 40 percent from 3-point range in each of the last six seasons and started every game he’s played over the last two. Curry, who played one season with new teammate Kyrie Irving in college at Duke, is averaging a career-high 15.0 points per game this year, the third straight season and the fourth in the last five that he has averaged double figures.
“Seth obviously has turned into a terrific NBA player,” said Nash. “He’s an elite shooter, catch-and-shoot off the bounce, he’s crafty and he’s incredibly efficient. I think Andre fills a need for us, too, as far as he’s an elite rebounder, something that we struggle at, and he’s a guy that can roll and get on top of the rim for us as well. So I think they all bring things to our program that we need and that will help us win.”
In his 10th NBA season, Drummond leads all active players with a career average of 13.4 rebounds per game that is also 10th in NBA history. The 6-foot-10 center led the NBA in rebounding four times in five years between the 2015-16 and 2019-20 seasons. For his career, he’s averaging 13.9 points while shooting 53.8 percent. Drummond is a two-time All-Star who was named to the All-NBA Third Team in 2015-16.
“We’re excited by the pieces that are coming in,” said Nash. “Obviously, we’re on a time crunch a little bit and getting everyone healthy, gaining some cohesion and building a team that can flow and play at both ends of the floor, but we’re still – we’re not taking our foot off the gas. We want to try to build and reach for the stars and try to have a sense of urgency with this new addition.”