76ers happy to have Simmons back

76ers happy to have Simmons back

After what had transpired at the end of the playoffs last season and the way everything played out during the offseason, most fans thought that we would never see Ben Simmons in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform again. However, things can change pretty quickly in the world of professional sports, and not only is Simmons back practicing with Philadelphia, he could also start in their opening game of the season on Wednesday evening.

“I have no idea,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said when asked if Simmons could start on Wednesday, via LibertyBallers.com. “Honestly, I haven’t even thought about it much. When it comes, I’ll make the decision. But I’m just going to wait and see and watch. The spirit has been so good, and so we’re just going to keep going.”

Simmons returned to the team last week and has started to reintegrate himself. He still needs to prove to his head coach that he should play though after being away for over three weeks.

“Just learning the new stuff, conditioning, timing, rhythm,” Rivers said when asked what Simmons needs to do to secure a spot in the lineup. “We’ve been together for three weeks so we’ve established a good rhythm. So the more he’s in, the more he does, especially with the offensive stuff earlier. We’ve built from last year, but we’ve tweaked a lot of stuff. But it’s easy to pick up and that’s a good thing, especially for him.”

Philadelphia dominated throughout the regular season last year, topping the Eastern Conference with an impressive 49-23 record. However, they ultimately failed to get past the second round of the playoffs, being eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks in seven games.

Despite his absence and desire to be traded, Simmons’ teammates are glad to have him back in Philadelphia again.

“He’s Ben Simmons,” said Tyrese Maxey. “We know what he does. It’s great to have him back.”

Simmons is entering his fifth season in the NBA, having been drafted by the 76ers with the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He became the first college player in the modern era to be drafted first overall, despite never playing in the NCAA tournament. Philadelphia took a chance on the youngster back then and they are doing the same with the 25-year-old in 2021.

“Things have gone the same as normal,” Danny Green said when asked if there was any awkwardness between Simmons and his teammates. “We’ve got a new guy in, a new face in, that we haven’t seen in a while. That’s the only difference.”

The veteran made it clear that the team won’t have to make too many adjustments with Simmons’ return to the lineup.

“It’s not that difficult. We only had two, three weeks without him,” Green said. “Some of these guys played with him for some years. So our offense hasn’t changed a bunch. It’s predicated around those guys — Ben, Tobias [Harris], Joel [Embiid]. So it hasn’t changed much.”

The 76ers start their 2021-22 regular season on the road in New Orleans against the Pelicans on Wednesday evening at the Smoothie King Center.