76ers

Sixers to open preseason Oct. 4 vs. Memphis 

Sixers to open preseason Oct. 4 vs. Memphis 

The first look at both the Sixers’ young nucleus and their new uniforms will be Oct. 4, when the team hosts the Grizzlies at the Wells Fargo Center for the first of five preseason games announced Thursday. The Celtics, Nets and Heat make up the rest of the Sixers’ exhibition opponents. 

After the opener against Memphis, the Sixers’ draft-day trade partners in the Celtics come to South Philly for the first bout of a home-and-home. The Oct. 6 matchup is the Sixers’ final true home game of the preseason. The team will then travel to play the Celtics at TD Garden Oct. 9. 

Next, comes an Oct. 11 trip to Long Island to face the Nets at NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. 

Although the Sixers are technically the home team when they play the Heat in their final preseason game, they’ll still have to travel more than a thousand miles. The game will be played at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, on Oct. 13. It’ll be somewhat of a homecoming for Joel Embiid, who played one year at the University of Kansas in 2013-2014. 

All games will be broadcast on the radio on 97.5 The Fanatic. The game against the Grizzlies can be watched on TCN, and CSN will have both matchups with the Celtics.

The league’s regular season will start about a week earlier this year to cut down on the amount back-to-backs teams play. With that, preseason slates have fewer games than the usual six or seven — the Sixers went 2-5 last year. 

Last season's full league schedule was released on Aug. 11, so expect an announcement soon for 2017-2018.

With Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons set to debut, John Wall and Bradley Beal recall their early days

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With Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons set to debut, John Wall and Bradley Beal recall their early days

The Sixers will have two No. 1 overall picks make their NBA debuts on Wednesday night in Markelle Fultz (2017) and Ben Simmons (2016). They are in for a challenge with the Wizards, one of the best teams in basketball, and with guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Wall and Beal know that challenge well. They were both top draft picks in their own right, Wall the first pick in 2010 and Beal the third pick in 2012. They can recall in specifics their first games in the NBA and how humbling they were.

"My first game, I was going against Dwight Howard. It was fun," Wall said. "There was a lot of pressure. There were a lot of people talking."

It's often said that the point guard position is as deep as it's ever been nowadays. The last three MVP awards have gone to point guards, for instance.

There were some good ones back in 2010, too.

"I remember in a five-game span I played like [Rajon] Rondo, Derrick Rose here and then I went out west and played Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Russell [Westbrook]," Wall said. "I don't think it's gotten any harder than it was back then in 2010 with those five guys. You kind of understand what those guys are about when you get to see it firsthand and play against them."

Beal vividly remembers going up against the LeBron James-led Miami Heat as a 19-year-old. It wasn't easy.

"It was the Heat when they had [Dwyane Wade] and LeBron on the same team. That's when D-Wade was electrifying. He still had his quickness. He was strong as I don't know what and I was a baby at that time," he said.

"For me, it was like I was in awe because those are the guys I grew up watching and I was a fan of. Now I'm playing against them and I can't be a fan of them. It was amazing to play against them, but also an eye-opener like, I need to get better."

Now it's Fultz and Simmons' turn to see what matching up with NBA superstars is like and don't expect Wall or Beal to take it easy on them.

"I'm a competitive person, so I'm not going to back down from any challenge," Wall said.

Joel Embiid to start Sixers' season opener, but how much will he play?

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Joel Embiid to start Sixers' season opener, but how much will he play?

WASHINGTON — The first starting lineup of the Sixers' 2017-18 season will be Ben Simmons, Jerryd Bayless, JJ Redick, Robert Covington and Joel Embiid.

Brown is sticking with the group that closed out preseason competition. That group has a balance of veterans and young talent, including Simmons making his NBA debut after missing all of last season with a foot injury.

"It helps a lot (starting together in the preseason) because you're learning guys and how they move and how they play," Simmons said. "I think we have a pretty good connection going into tonight's game and it's only going to get better."

Embiid will be under a minutes restriction but Brown does not have a definitive number. The big man previously said he expected to play 16 minutes. Embiid was the last one to leave the court at the conclusion of shootaround. 

"There's a range that we'll work with," Brown said. "We're going to feel it together. We'll play Joel within some parameters and go from that base." 

Markelle Fultz also will make his NBA debut. The No. 1 pick, who has battled right knee and shoulder soreness, will come off the bench in front of his hometown crowd. 

"I'm excited," Fultz said. "It's anything you can wish for."