‘He can handle it’: Patty Mills, Kyrie Irving in Ben Simmons’s corner at Brooklyn Nets

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Kyrie Irving is happy to act as Ben Simmons’s bodyguard but says he’s a “big boy, he can handle it” as the pair begin a new NBA partnership at the Brooklyn Nets.

Simmons missed all of last season with physical and mental health issues after being traded from the Philadelphia 76ers.


But after “working on himself” and undergoing back surgery, he is set to feature in their October 20 season opener in a team featuring Kevin Durant, Irving and Australian compatriot Patty Mills.

That game will bring an end to a tumultuous off-season for the high-profile club, with the unvaccinated Irving back after missing a bulk of last season and Durant also requesting a trade that didn’t eventuate.

“It’s not too often you get a chance to see a [211cm] guy do the things he does,” Melbourne-born Irving said of Simmons.

“What I’ve been able to observe … is his resolve and resilience … whatever greatness looks like for him, he wants it.

“When you’re in an environment where you can be supported, that can help ease the journey.

“That’s a role I’d like to play on this team … protect him when needed but know he’s a big boy, he can handle it.”

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