In perhaps the least surprising news of all time, the Nets have officially closed Ben Simmons for the remainder of regular season and tournament play.

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Is anyone really surprised by this latest update from Ben Simmons? Probably not. But just because it’s not surprising doesn’t mean it’s not significant. Here’s what Shams had to say about this situation just 3 days ago

At that time, perhaps there was some hope for Nets fans. It’s kind of been the deal with Simmons all year when you think about it. Despite what we saw with our own eyes, despite all the reports that he was not ready, the possibility that he could being ready was something that gave Nets fans a glimmer of hope. With this almost closed today by Nash combined with the latest update on Seth Curry

there is a legitimate reason to be concerned. All you have to do is watch where the nets are currently inserted. Being in the 9/10 position and not having the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Hornets (in 9th), they run the risk of a random hot shooting night ending their season and sending them to the lottery . The good news is that they end the year with HOU/NYK/CLE/IND so in theory as long as KD and Kyrie exist there’s a good shot they go up to 8th place but that would need someone ‘one like the Hawks who won 5 in a row only to suddenly start losing games. It is certainly not a guarantee. That’s why not even having Simmons back for the game is a big deal. The biggest problem with the Nets is their inability to literally stop anyone from scoring. They have the 20th ranked defense of the season and over the past few weeks or so have given up an insane number of points (117 since 3/16). This is an area where, in theory, helping a Simmons comeback could help solve. For all the offensive limitations you might think Simmons has, there’s no denying how hard-hitting he is as a defender. Once you start playing in a situation where all it can take is a hot shooting night to end your season, defense becomes even more important. We’ve seen games where KD/Kyrie combine for over 80 points and it’s still not enough because they can’t stop at the other end.

My question is the following. Let’s say the Nets survive the game and end up in the 7 or 8 seed. If Simmons is still “far” from playing, I think it’s a stretch to think he’ll be playoff ready in 12 days. , is not it ? It seems more likely that the Nets know he’s been cooking for the year and not just the last few games, but they’re waiting to announce it until they do. I just think there’s a huge gap between some light on the court work in practice and the NBA playoffs, especially if you don’t have games to step up and put your legs on under you. This obviously changes how the Nets look as a potential playoff opponent. Kyrie and KD are definitely still terrifying, if they find Seth Curry healthy, it’s an offense that will keep you up at night.

But things tend to slow down in the playoffs. Defense matters. The teams try for 48 minutes instead of the last 5 minutes of the 4th quarter. You have to be able to stop someone from scoring once we get to that part of the NBA schedule. If anything the Nets will do, it’s their inability to do just that.

Now that we’ve had a few months to review this trade, when it happened it felt like both sides had come out on top. The Sixers brought in their guy to partner with Embiid and out of the Ben Simmons business, and the Nets brought in extra depth and a guy who had the potential to fit right in with their two best players. Now? Neither team really got high. The Sixers are scratching and clinging to stay in the top 4 in the East with Harden suddenly not looking exactly at the lights out, and the Nets are about to enter the lottery. Pretty crazy when you think about how this trade was talked about when it happened in February.

Who knows, maybe the Nets will go running and we’ll see Simmons make his debut later in the playoffs. This is probably the last lifeline for Nets fans because right now, right now, it feels like a lost season.