Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers starting lineup for 2021-22 NBA season​

Sixers

An actual basketball game will be a nice change of pace for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The last time the Sixers took the court was Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals, a contest that launched the franchise into offseason chaos. The Atlanta Hawks wound up winning 103-96 at Wells Fargo Center, but the spotlight immediately turned to Ben Simmons, who passed up a crunch-time layup down the stretch. The play capped off a head-scratching series from Simmons where he scored just 9.9 points per game and shot 33.3% from the free throw line.

A summer of rumors, training videos and meetings has not yet led to a conclusion to the Simmons saga. He initially held out from Sixers camp, but he returned to practice just days before the team begins the 2021-22 season.

 

Philadelphia opens the new campaign on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Will Simmons be out there? It’s uncertain, so Doc Rivers will have to be prepared with lineups with or without the No. 1 overall pick from the 2016 NBA Draft.

Here’s a look at how the Sixers’ lineup could shake out this year:

What will be the Sixers starting lineup?

With Simmons, this is an easy one.

The Sixers’ conventional starting lineup of Simmons, Joel Embiid, Seth Curry, Tobias Harris and Danny Green was one of the NBA’s top units in 2020-21. The group only played 32 regular season games together due to various injuries and COVID-19 incidents, but the lineup was one of the biggest determining factors in lifting the Sixers to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Regardless of Simmons’ availability, the Sixers will begin games with Curry, Green, Harris and Embiid on the floor.

Who is the point guard for the 76ers?

This will be one of the big questions for the Sixers in the early part of the season. Rivers said he had “no idea” when Simmons will play and Shake Milton suffered a right ankle sprain during the preseason.

That leaves second-year guard Tyrese Maxey as the presumptive ball handler for the Sixers. Rivers named Furkan Korkmaz and Isaiah Joe as two more potential options. Curry and Matisse Thybulle are two more options who could be forced to initiate more of the offense until Simmons or Milton return.

With Simmons practicing, Milton hurt, who will handle ball for Sixers?

What position does Ben Simmons play?

It may not seem like it at 6-foot-10, but Simmons is a point guard.

His assignment and role changes based on the matchup, especially with his elite defensive range and capabilities. On offense, he is a dangerous fast-break weapon, but the game can slow down for him in the half-court.

Who is the 76ers starting shooting guard?

When the Sixers have their starting lineup together, there are two shooting guards on the floor.

 

Curry and Green are both shooting guards. The position makes more sense for Curry when there is a ball handler on the floor, meaning Green is pushed to defend opposing small forwards when the two are playing at the same time.

Who is the 76ers starting small forward?

This one is also split heading into the 2021-22 NBA season.

Harris fits the mold of a small forward with his offensive and defensive skills, but he is also pushed up a position. Harris is left to defend opposing “fours” while Green is slightly out of position as a “three.”

Who is the 76ers starting center?

Joel Embiid.

Should Embiid miss any time, newly acquired center Andre Drummond will be the fill-in.