Kyrie Irving yells ‘Shoot it Ben’ under the basket to Ben Simmons

Who didn’t see this coming?

Four games into the season, Kyrie Irving He shouts Ben Simmons Shoot the ball. Held on Wednesday during a strong consultation Brooklyn Nets‘ game against Milwaukee Bucks. With the Nets leading 60-50 early in the third quarter, Irving hit the basket in transition. He found Simmons to his left in the paint and dished the ball to his backcourt partner with a message picked up by the broadcast mics.

“Shoot, Ben,” Irving announced.

Ben didn’t shoot it. Instead he kicked it out Kevin Durant Above the 3-point line. Durant then dribbled to the free-throw line and pulled up for a jumper.

The play was successful. But it certainly raises doubts about whether a Nets lineup built around Irving, Simmons and Durant will actually work.

Simmons didn’t shoot the ball in Brooklyn

Simmons made his Nets debut this month A fall with Philadelphia 76ers led to A timeframe trade Last season sent him to Brooklyn. Disagreements between Simmons and the team that drafted him revolved around his reluctance to shoot the ball. An open position he passed through In a playoff loss Atlanta Hawks.

Four games into his Nets tenure, there’s no indication Simmons is ready to become a scoring option in Brooklyn. In his first three games, Simmons averaged 5.7 points on 4.3 field goal attempts per game. On Wednesday, he shot 2-for-7 from the field for seven points. The Nets built a double-digit lead in the second half 110-99 loss Fall to 1-3.

A new Nets lineup featuring Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons is off to a 1-3 start. (Justin Ford/Getty Images)

What will the internal pressure be like on Simmons?

In Simmons’ defense, Wednesday’s bypassed shot in the paint wasn’t up to par His infamous decision against the Hawks. After receiving the pass, he found out Giannis Antetokounmpo Standing between himself and the basket, it’s enough to give pause to even the most confident of NBA scorers.

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Irving’s command to “shoot it” is particularly significant. Simmons cited a lack of support As his 76ers coaches and teammates amid mental health struggles An inspiration for his business needs.

Irving framed his announcement as a positive endorsement of Simmons. He also resented having to talk about the matter.

“You keep coming here asking what about Ben?” Irving said, According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “He hasn’t played in two years. Give him a chance. We’re in his life. You stay with him. But we’re here to give him positive affirmations.”

How Simmons interprets and responds to Irving’s pressure — and that will certainly come when he refuses to shoot — will be worth watching. With Nets 1-3 at the start, positives may be hard to come by.

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