Wednesday, October 4 2023

Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons hopes to play for the Australian national team this summer during the FIBA World Cup, according to Brian Windhorst. Simmons has been included in Australia’s initial player pool for the event, which will run from Aug. 25 through Sept. 10 in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. 

Australia’s head coach, Brian Goorjian, told a radio station in Sydney that he’s been in contact with Simmons and expects that the former NBA All-Star will be ready to play. 

“I think his mindset is getting healthy, getting in shape and getting ready to play in this [World Cup],” Goorjian said. “There were unfortunate circumstances [why he didn’t play at the Olympics], but I feel like he is going to make himself available.”

Simmons, who was born in Melbourne and spent most of his early years in Newcastle, has not played for Australia since 2013 when he suited up for the FIBA Oceania Championship as a 17-year-old. Since then, he has routinely withdrawn from consideration for major international tournaments for various reasons. 

It remains to be seen if Simmons will actually play for the Aussies this summer, but it could be an opportunity for him to find his confidence again after a tumultuous few years in the NBA. 

He notably sat out the entire 2021-22 season due to his trade request and a back injury. This season, his first full one with the Nets, he was limited to 42 games because of numerous injuries. On March 28, the Nets ruled him out for the remainder of the season due to a lingering back problem. Even when he was on the floor, things didn’t go well. His 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists were all career-lows, and at one point he fell out of the rotation. 

The World Cup could provide Simmons with something of a fresh start to get him back on track. He would be playing with new teammates, a new coach and against lesser competition. Australia has been drawn into Group E alongside Germany, Finland and Japan, and will play each country once during the group stage, with the top-two teams advancing to the knockout rounds. 



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