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#pounditSaturday, December 3, 2022

Kyrie Irving has bullish take on Ben Simmons

Kyrie Irving in warmups

Jan 15, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) stands for the anthem before a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving thinks Ben Simmons is in the perfect environment to revive his career with the Brooklyn Nets.

Irving sounded off on Simmons on Thursday, arguing that the environment in Brooklyn will be better for the former No. 1 pick and will help him play at a high level again. Irving cited his own mental health experiences and suggested Simmons could benefit the same way.

“It means everything,” Irving said, via Nick Friedell of ESPN. “It means they come in with a peace of mind. And they just enjoy the game of basketball. It’s a profession for sure, I don’t want to knock that, it’s a seriousness about it, but building team camaraderie takes that ability to go through some uncomfortable moments and you got to be balanced mentally, spiritually, emotionally, be able to handle things like that. So I definitely have first-hand experience, I don’t want to make mental health a trend.

“In actuality, it’s one of the most important things that you need out here to be great in anything you do. We all are supportive, we all go through our own things, but we can understand and meet him where he’s at and just have him enjoy the game. Rather than make it feel like it’s something he’s forced to come to at all. So I feel good.”

Simmons’ mental health was certainly a major issue in 2021-22. He never played for the 76ers citing mental health issues, which helped prompt his trade to Brooklyn. Simmons became a widely-criticized figure in Philadelphia, which did not help matters.

Simmons does sound confident, so perhaps Irving is onto something here. The big question will be how everyone reacts if and when Simmons struggles or faces some of his previous issues again.

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