WATCH: Kyrie Irving yells at Ben Simmons to shoot the ball originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
In the third quarter, Irving drove down the lane on a fast break and dropped off a pass in the paint to Simmons. Simmons caught the ball with a few defenders around him, took one dribble and passed it back out to Kevin Durant at the top of the 3-point arc -- all without ever appearing to even look at the hoop. Durant then dribbled into a pull-up jumper from the free throw line, which he made.
But after Simmons passed it to Durant, the TV broadcast picked up Irving shouting "Shoot it, Ben!"
The viral moment come amidst another very quiet scoring night for Simmons, who posted four points while shooting 2-for-7 overall and 0-for-2 from the foul line as the Nets dropped to 1-3 on the young season.
"When I passed it to him I felt like he had a layup at the rim," Irving told reporters of the viral moment, via Nick Friedell. "And I looked him eye to eye and I was like, 'Shoot it, Ben!' And of course, again, it's just a clip. It's a full game that we can look at and dissect, and that's what I'll do. This is a big-picture thing. We want Ben to be aggressive every single play, we want him to get an assist every single play, we want him to rebound, we want him to play against the best player, we want him to do all the things we know he's capable of, but at this time he's going to have to work himself into his own confidence and feel good about himself.
"I'm not going to say I'm being patient or humble about it, but the reality is that we're just going to keep having to try this experiment every single night until we get the right recipe."
Through Brooklyn's first four contests, Simmons has yet to tally more than seven points in a game. He's totaled 21 points in 117 minutes of action while shooting 9-for-20 overall and 3-for-9 on free throws. That's an average of five shots and 2.25 free throws per game.
While Simmons has averaged over seven assists, his scoring impact and aggressiveness are down from past seasons. In 2020-21, the three-time All-Star put up 14.3 points on 10.1 field goal attempts and 4.9 free throw attempts per game with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Irving continued to preach patience with Simmons after he sat out all of last season.
"You guys keep coming in here asking me like, 'What about Ben?' He hasn't played in two years. Give him a f***ing chance," Irving said, via Brian Lewis. "We stay on his s***. You just stay on him. But we're here to give him positive affirmations."
Irving, Simmons and Co. will look to get back in the win column when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.