LAKERS REPORT:Was Jacque Vaughn’s Dismissal Linked to Ben Simmons’ Situation?

Brooklyn Nets players weren’t happy with former head coach Jacque Vaughn’s offense. That’s because it was built around Ben Simmons.

According to Shams Charania, both Mikal Bridges and the traded Spencer Dinwiddie had issues with Vaughn’s offensive schemes.

One reason is that “a lot of their offense was built around Ben Simmons.”

Simmons may have a lot of offensive ability, but as they say, the best ability is availability.

The Australian point guard is a fantastic passer, but he only played 42 games last season after playing zero games in 2021-22. This season, he’s played 12 games. Brooklyn’s been able to run their Simmons-built offense for just 308 minutes.

Planning for a healthy Simmons is ambitious, but ultimately foolish. He simply can’t get his back healthy, suffering nerve impingements to both sides of his back the last two years.

Vaughn saw the upside potential of utilizing his highest-paid player. And the Nets did average 118.9 points when Simmons played, compared to 111.8 points when he sat. But he mostly sat.

It’s not the first time Simmons has cost a head coach his job. Philadelphia’s Brett Brown was fired after the Sixers were swept in the first round of the 2019-20 playoffs, in large part because Simmons injured his knee in the Orlando bubble games. The Sixers lost three of their last five games without Simmons, then lost four straight to the Boston Celtics.

Brown also relied heavily on Simmons in his offensive plans after the team essentially¬†chose Simmons¬†over free agent Jimmy Butler in the summer of 2019. Those plans fell apart when Simmons’ body did.

Perhaps interim coach Kevin Ollie can get the Nets back on track. But it’s Simmons’ injured back that derailed this season’s offense.

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