76ers

Will Sixers be in an advantageous position if season resumes?

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Will Sixers be in an advantageous position if season resumes?

On so many levels, the Sixers’ season hasn’t gone as planned. Even before the coronavirus pandemic forced the NBA to suspend play, the team was in an unenviable spot.

If the regular season is over, which seems like a distinct possibility, the Sixers would finish as the East’s sixth seed. A combination of fit, underperformance — especially away from the Wells Fargo Center — and injury put them there.

But if the NBA does resume at some point, where does that leave the 2019-20 Sixers?

There’s a train of thought that this break could benefit the Sixers. It’s a fair line of thinking. In fact, there may not be a team that would benefit more. 

Ben Simmons, who has been sidelined since Feb. 22 with nerve impingement in his lower back, will have more time to recover. Back on March 11, before we learned later that night that Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for coronavirus, Simmons spoke before the Sixers’ game against the Pistons. 

The All-Star point guard said he had “no pain” and was “confident” — though he did not give a timeline for his return. Earlier that day, the team released a statement which said Simmons would be re-evaluated in three weeks. That would put the re-evaluation at around April 1, with no indication the NBA season will resume any time soon.

Other than Simmons, the other four members of the regular starting lineup have dealt with injuries this season. 

Joel Embiid tore a ligament in his left ring finger and had a left shoulder sprain. Josh Richardson has dealt with injuries to both hamstrings, among other things. While Tobias Harris (right knee contusion) and Al Horford (left knee soreness, left hamstring tightness) haven’t missed much time, they’ve also been banged up this season.

All of this to say, maybe this break — as unfortunate as it is for the sport and for the world, really — winds up benefiting the Sixers. Everyone will be back to Point A when/if play resumes. If you’ll recall, the Sixers started this season 5-0. It seems like a distant memory, but it happened. Perhaps returning to full health will ignite a similar run.

Now, for the glass half-empty version.

Though being healthy will help, it won’t solve the myriad issues the Sixers had with their roster construction this season. If both Embiid and Horford are healthy, Brett Brown seems hellbent on trying to make the combo work. So far this season, the evidence has been against that being fruitful.

Richardson and Harris have had their moments this season, but neither has been exactly what the Sixers expected. Richardson’s skillset is one the Sixers need, but he’s on pace to have the worst three-point shooting season of his career. While Harris has been solid, he hasn’t been the near-max player the team thought they were getting.

As for Simmons, he was playing easily the best basketball of his career before his injury and seemed to be a legitimate candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. Will he be able to round into form and get ready for the playoffs in a hurry after such a long layoff?

Then the seven-foot, 280-plus pound elephant in the room — will Embiid be in good enough shape to play in an NBA game when the time comes?

The Sixers may be the most mystifying team in the NBA. It’s entirely possible they come out guns blazing, get their act together and go on a run. It seems just as feasible that their fit issues fester, and they’ll get bounced in the first round.

So while the basketball hiatus may benefit the Sixers, they’d still have to take advantage.

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Sixers Talk podcast: What will we see from Joel Embiid if season resumes?

Sixers Talk podcast: What will we see from Joel Embiid if season resumes?

On this edition of the Sixers Talk podcast, we put bow on remembering the 1983 NBA champs and discuss Joel Embiid's comments about feeling like he turned a corner at the All-Star Game.

(1:15) — Discussing the nostalgia of the 1983 NBA Finals.
(12:23) — Former Sixers who would thrive in this current era of the NBA.
(18:37) — Embiid believes he was on the path to dominate when the season was suspended.

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Tobias Harris calls for resignation of local politician over 'disgusting' press release

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Tobias Harris calls for resignation of local politician over 'disgusting' press release

After Ben Simmons had some pointed comments for the president early Tuesday morning, Tobias Harris took exception to a press release from a local politician.

On Tuesday morning, Harris quote tweeted a press release from Joe Gale, calling for the Montgomery County Commissioner to resign. 

Harris, who took part in peaceful protests over the weekend in the city in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minnenapolis, took it a step further by sharing a petition demanding Gale’s resignation.

It appears so many people attempted to access it after Harris shared it that the site’s server crashed.

This is apparently not the first time Gale has shared views of this nature. Harris retweeted the following:

Harris has already contributed to the community in a big way since signing a near-max contract this past offseason.

In October, he donated $1 million for a “community draft” to assist nine under-served communities in Philadelphia. In December, he spent the day at Bethune Elementary School in North Philadelphia, where he donated supplies and treated the black male teachers at the school to a night out at a Sixers game. He’s also made a variety of donations for COVID-19 relief.

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