Ben Simmons return, when will he be back, how long is he out for, Brooklyn Nets vs Boston Celtics, reaction, US view, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving

It’s just meant to be, isn’t it?

The Brooklyn Nets booked their spot in the NBA play-offs thanks to a 115-108 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the play-in tournament, with Steve Nash’s side now awaiting a first-round series against the Boston Celtics, the Eastern Conference’s No 2 seeds.

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They did it on the back of an almost-perfect offensive performance from Kyrie Irving while Kevin Durant also dazzled in clutch moments.

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But more importantly they did it without Ben Simmons, who was a constant motivational presence on the bench and has been since he was traded to the Nets from the Philadelphia 76ers.

Simmons is yet to suit up for the Nets after a series of injuries delayed his return, but now we finally might get to see the Australian take to the court as a Brooklyn player for the first time.

And what better stage to do it than the playoffs, where the stakes grow higher with every game

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Simmons has his eyes firmly fixed on the upcoming series against the Celtics to make his return.

Simmons’ comeback could be the element that transforms Brooklyn from a contender into serious championship material.

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Simmons is yet to play for the Nets since being traded from the Sixers. Elsa/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

“He (Simmons) is very, very confident he’ll be able to make a return at some point in this first round series,” Charania told The Pat McAfee Show.

I think games one and two of the Boston series is too quick.

“But I definitely think after that is when the window for Ben Simmons to return opens up.

“Even if he’s able to give them 15 minutes or 20 minutes, that’s a game-changer because that’s a guy that automatically is put on the other team’s best player, he can move the ball, he can rebound.

“A lot can happen.

“So that is a potential game-changer if Ben Simmons can return.”

What’s even better for Nets fans — and extremely worrying for the rest of the teams competing in the NBA playoffs — is that Simmons also reportedly has his confidence back.

He was booed mercilessly by his own fans during the Sixers’ playoff series against the Hawks last year, as Simmons’ shooting struggles were on full display.

But now that he got the fresh start he longed for and has been taken under the wing of fellow Aussie and Nets star Patty Mills, it’s given Simmons the boost he needed.

According to Bally Sports NBA Insider Brandon Robinson, Brooklyn players have been doing everything they can to make Simmons feel like he’s on cloud nine.

Simmons has been a constant presence on the Brooklyn bench. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“Nets players have been challenging Ben Simmons in practice,” Robinson wrote on Twitter.

“One Nets player told Simmons in practice yesterday: ‘Make something happen in your life.’

“One Nets fixture believes that Ben Simmons can play in later rounds and tells Bally Spots that Simmons’ swag is at an all-time high right now.

“’He walks around like he’s Jordan.’”

It’s all speculation at this point as to when Simmons will return and what version of himself he will be.

But to come back for a team that has Durant and Irving firing on all cylinders, there’s every reason to believe that Simmons, a three-time NBA All-Star, can return to the form that made him a coveted asset.

Patty Mills has taken Simmons under his wing at the Nets. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

In fact, Fox Sports podcaster Colin Cowherd believes his return will supercharge a deep playoffs assault for the Nets and believes Simmons’ role could be as simple as just locking down opposition stars.

“Brooklyn doesn’t need points,” Cowherd said on The Herd.

“They need length, defense and distribution.

“Let’s say he (Simmons) goes seven minutes a half, and they played Miami and you just put him on Jimmy Butler, or they play Boston and they put him on Jayson Tatum, he has massive value.

“Because all of the shooting stuff is in his head, you can tell him, ‘defend and distribute, you don’t need to take a single shot.’

“I think Brooklyn ends up in the Eastern Conference finals. I really do.

“If that’s the role for him, his defence, I think they’re going to play Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference finals.”

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