Ben Simmons has shown glimpses of brilliance and some familiar struggles against his former NBA team Philadelphia in his first outing for Brooklyn.

The Nets lost their first of three pre-season games 127-108 to the 76ers, who rested stars Joel Embiid and James Harden on Tuesday (AEST).

Australian Simmons started alongside fellow All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, managing six points, four rebounds, five assists and a steal in 19 minutes.

Like Durant and Irving, he did not feature after half-time in what was a short-lived look at the Nets’ new big three.

It marked Simmons’s first game in 470 days since his messy 76ers exit that culminated in a high-profile trade involving Harden in February.

He did not play at all last season due to mental and physical health complaints, admitting recently the heckling he received for his reluctance to shoot the ball had weighed heavily on him.

Simmons threw one smooth behind-the-back assist and opened his account with a powerful dunk.

But he missed two mid-range efforts and, with the backdrop of some booing Philadelphia fans in Brooklyn, missed both free throws he attempted.

“So good to be back; grateful and blessed to be back on the court,” Simmons said on-court after the game.

“Overall [the team’s performance was] solid, obviously a lot of room for improvement, especially defensively, but it’s a whole new team.”

He then brushed aside a question about facing his former team on debut, saying his “debut’s coming, that’s [in week one against] New Orleans”.

Simmons was the first Nets player subbed, before returning to play point guard with coach Steve Nash’s second unit that includes Boomers star Patty Mills.

Mills was energetic but quiet, a four-point play his sole offensive contribution in 10 minutes on court.

Durant had 13 points for the Nets while Irving had nine points and four assists and Simmons’ former understudy Tyrese Maxey scored 20 for the 76ers.

The NBA season begins on 18 October.

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