Updated: 1:40 p.m.
We’ve got just one more game before the real thing as the Sixers host the Washington Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center Friday.
It’s the Sixers’ fifth and final preseason game before they welcome the Boston Celtics next Wednesday in the season opener.
The good news for fans watching tonight’s game: This is NOT like the NFL preseason. If anything, this is more like a dress rehearsal.
Here’s everything you need to know.
When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are a few things to watch.
Ben Simmons (back tightness) is out for Friday night's game. The team has described his absence as precautionary. At practice Wednesday, Simmons said he was “confident” that he’ll be 100 percent by the opener.
Raul Neto (left hamstring tightness) is questionable and James Ennis is available after missing Tuesday night's game with right calf tightness.
Joel Embiid is not on the injury report and is expected to play. Brett Brown had said he expected to play the rotation he plans to use against the Celtics, though he'll obviously have to change things with the absence of Simmons. That rotation will include impressive rookie Matisse Thybulle, who has more than earned a prominent role off the Sixers’ bench.
Who backs up Simmons?
The top eight players in the rotation are set. It’ll be the five starters plus Thybulle, Ennis and Mike Scott — you’ll also see plenty of Kyle O’Quinn sprinkled in there. But the backup point guard role remains somewhat of a mystery.
GM Elton Brand brought in veterans Trey Burke and Neto to compete for minutes. Brown has been quick to point out that second-year guard Shake Milton is still in that mix. The best candidate, however, may be Josh Richardson. Brown started Richardson there against Detroit and seems to like Richardson’s capabilities in that spot. It also allows him to keep a crazy big lineup on the floor at all times.
If there is any type of roster drama in tonight’s game, this will be it.
Bradley Beal’s extension
Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal inked a two-year, $72 million max extension Thursday. With two years still left on his current deal, it will begin with the 2021-22 season and include a player option for 2022-23, per ESPN.
It’s interesting because Beal is an excellent player just entering the prime of his career at 26 and his supporting cast is not very good. When healthy, there aren’t many backcourt duos better than Beal and John Wall. The issue is Wall, whose game is predicated on his lightning speed, is recovering from a ruptured Achilles and will likely not play this season. In 2020-21, he’ll be 30 and making over $40 million.
The Wizards will lose the contract of Ian Mahinmi and perhaps have a little flexibility next offseason.
Good for Beal for showing loyalty to the team that drafted him, but it seems like he may be stuck in NBA purgatory in Washington. Then again, that contract likely wouldn’t be difficult to move, and they’d get a nice return for Beal if things do go south.
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