The Brooklyn Nets have been among the NBA's most efficient teams during a league-best nine-game winning streak. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have set the NBA on fire during that time, combining for 60.4 points per game, the most in the league among a pair of teammates.

Ben Simmons, the final member of the Nets' Big 3, has posted a modest 8.0 points per game during the streak. While the low scoring total has diverted attention away from Simmons' performance, the first-year Net has quietly been an engine for Brooklyn during their recent success.

Simmons has altered the game in a variety of ways, filling the stat sheet with 7.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.9 steals per game on 60.9 percent shooting. The advanced stats reflect his impact. The three-time All-Star boasts the Nets' best defensive rating (106.6), offensive rating (127.9) and net rating (+21.7) during their win streak. Simmons has also posted the NBA's best plus-minus (11.9) during December.

Playing in a point-center role, Simmons has routinely made game-winning plays that do not show up on the stat sheet. With that, let's highlight the various ways the 26-year-old has forced his imprint on the game outside of scoring:

Pushing the pace

Ben Simmons has made it a point to push the pace and create for his teammates in transition this season. Whether off a turnover, rebound, or made shot, the Aussie has looked to get out and run. The vision heading into the season was Brooklyn surrounding Simmons with four shooters to accentuate his incredible passing ability.

That vision has come to fruition during the Nets' recent success.

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Simmons' orchestration of the transition game has added another weapon to Brooklyn's already high-octane offense around Durant and Irving.


The addition of Simmons' 6'10” frame to Brooklyn's defense has been a revelation over the recent stretch. The former number one pick dominated the 1st half defensively during the Nets' 125-117 win over Cleveland Monday. Simmons is able to use his strength and 7'0″ wingspan to disrupt the flow of opposing offenses in several ways.

First, the two-time All-Defensive First Team selection has been outstanding coming up with steals while working into passing lanes using his length, physicality and instincts.

Along with his ridiculous length, Simmons has incredibly precise hands. And the 26-year-old has used them to close driving lanes and come away with more steals on digs.

In addition to his ability to defend on the perimeter and disrupt passing lanes, Simmons has added a physical presence on the interior. The 26-year-old routinely uses his length and 240-pound frame to hold position and alter shots around the rim.

Simmons, along with Nic Claxton, guarded Giannis Antetokounmpo during Brooklyn's 118-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks Friday. The Nets forced the former MVP into a game-high seven turnovers during the win. And Durant spoke highly of his new teammate's performance against one of the league's best.

“He was incredible,” Durant said of Simmons. “I think his aggression was good all night. He was playing physical. I think he stayed with it all game, was able to make life tough and I think we all did a solid job of showing him a crowd a little bit, making him kick out and forcing him to turn the ball over, seven turnovers. So Ben’s the catalyst for that and we’re gonna need that going forward.”

The Nets possess a noticeably longer and more athletic rotation than in years past with the additions of Simmons, T.J. Warren, Royce O’Neale, Yuta Watanabe and Edmond Sumner. Brooklyn’s top-10 rotation players post an average height of 6’7″ with an average wingspan of 6’10”. Kyrie Irving alluded to the added size and versatility when speaking about slowing down Milwaukee.

“Absolutely,” Irving responded when asked if he feels the improved size around him. “I mean, I can’t necessarily guard everybody on the court in terms of the perimeter, so when KD can guard Jrue, I can guard Jevon Carter. Royce can guard Giannis or Ben can guard Giannis. I think our lineup is so interchangeable that it’s a positive for us. It’s a strength of ours.”


Ben Simmons has also added a much-needed boost for a Nets team that ranked dead last in the league in rebounding for much of the season. The former rookie of the year has recorded eight or more rebounds in four of his last six games.

Simmons' effort on the offensive glass in particular during Brooklyn's last few wins has been eye-opening.

Led by Simmons and Nic Claxton, the Nets have tied or out-rebounded their opponent in six of their last eight games.

Ben Simmons' effort in these phases of the game has allowed him to force his imprint despite modest scoring totals. And the advanced numbers tell the story of his impact during Brooklyn's dramatic turnaround.

Simmons and the new-look Nets will look to continue their historic push when they travel to Atlanta and Charlotte later this week.