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Reports that Ben Simmons could return during first round of playoffs

It may sound like a "terrible idea" for Ben Simmons to return to action with the Nets under the pressure of the playoffs with new teammates, but Jeff Goodman thinks he can brings some much-needed speed and facilitating.

So to be clear: The plan is to take a guy who has not played one second this season, a guy with an offensive game that is not plug-and-play (and does not space the floor), and a guy who struggled with pressure during last season’s playoffs, and throw him cold into the most physical, intense and high-pressure games of the season?

Apparently it’s under consideration in Brooklyn. Refuting reports hinting Ben Simmons would not be back this postseason, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday that Simmons is improving from his back issue and could return toward the end of the first round of the playoffs in a limited role (10-15 minutes a night).

Simmons has been moving more freely on the court and advanced to shooting and 1-on-0 workouts after stops and starts since his trade to the Nets from the Philadelphia 76ers two months ago.

Shams Charania of The Athletic echoed that in a Tweet.

Then the Nets released this video of Ben Simmons hitting jumpers over zero defenders in practice.

While on paper Simmons is exactly the kind of player the Nets need — a long, disruptive, elite on-ball defender who also can push the ball in transition and be another shot creator — it’s difficult to imagine he can move the needle much in a limited playoffs role after missing an entire season.

Brooklyn will have to come out of the play-in to make the playoffs, but if they do they will likely face the Celtics, top-seeded Heat or defending champion Bucks. Brooklyn might be a betting favorite in one of those series, but they shouldn’t be (thanks to a 24th ranked defense). How much Simmons can help in those games remains to be seen.

But maybe Simmons will play.