- 76ers expect Ben Simmons to be at full strength when the season resumes August 1
- Simmons suffered a back injury in February that was expected to keep him out indefinitely
- Sixers are at +900 to win the East, +2800 to win the NBA title
The four-month layoff between games will prove beneficial to some NBA teams, while others won’t be at full strength. Teams like the Nets, Lakers, Wizards, and Trail Blazers have already had key rotation players decide against playing when the NBA resumes its season in Florida later this month.
However, one team that will be getting a boost is the Philadelphia 76ers. At the time the league shut down operations back in March, All-Star guard Ben Simmons had recently been sidelined indefinitely due to a back injury. Simmons was expected to miss several weeks at the time, and his status for the team’s playoff run was in some doubt.
The rare encouraging update in Sixers world! Between Joel Embiid’s work and Ben Simmons’ back, the head coach thinks they’re in a good place.
And you might even see them in some more pick-and-rolls: https://t.co/vh6ETqDTX4
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) July 1, 2020
Thanks to the lengthy hiatus, though, the Sixers are expecting Simmons to be back to full strength when the season gets back underway at the end of July. In a video call with local press on Wednesday, 76ers head coach Brett Brown said, “He’s good to go. He’s put in a tremendous amount of work for me to be able to confidently say that.” Brown added that Simmons is “good to go” and he was told that the star guard is back to “100 percent health.”
Simmons’ last appearance for the Sixers was on February 22 when he suffered a back injury early in the first quarter of a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The team wasn’t certain that he would be fully ready to play once the season got back underway, but he is expected to be in the lineup when Philadelphia plays its next game on August 1 against the Indiana Pacers.
76ers’ Odds Have Slumped Since Start of Season
The 76ers started the season as one of the betting favorites to get out of the Eastern Conference. However, their odds to do so have since slipped due to a variety of factors. The Bucks once again look like the cream of the crop in the conference, while the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors have put up more impressive seasons, as well.
Philly has a solid 39-26 record on the year, but they’re currently just sixth in the East. If the season ended today, the Sixers would face a tough first-round matchup against Boston. However, just two games separate sixth-place Philadelphia from fourth-place Miami in the standings. The Sixers can certainly make up some ground if they play well in Orlando.
The Sixers’ odds to win the East have sagged to +900, which ties them with the Heat for the fourth-best odds. Milwaukee is a minus-money favorite at -165, followed by Boston (+700) and Toronto (+700).
The 76ers are also at +2800 to win the title, which puts them behind the Lakers, Bucks, Clippers, Rockets, Celtics, Raptors, and Nuggets.
Brown Impressed With Embiid
If Philly is to make a deep run, Simmons and Joel Embiid will have to outperform expectations. The partnership has proved to be rather clunky at times, but Philadelphia has a lot invested in the two eventually figuring out how to coexist.
Speaking of Embiid, Brown was seemingly pleased with his All-Star center’s conditioning once he returned to the team’s practice facility. When asked about Embiid’s status, Brown said, “Let’s start with the respect and applause I give him for putting in time. There is nobody on our team that has put in more time than Joel Embiid. Forget what he has actually done in the gym for a minute, just go to the man-hours and consecutive days and the amount of days he has put in over the past few months. I’m proud of him, I respect him. He needed to do it. We understand the impact he can have on our team.”
Embiid is averaging 23.4 points along with 11.7 rebounds and just over a block per game for the Sixers on the year. Simmons, meanwhile, is contributing across the board to the tune of 16.7 points, 8.2 assists, and 7.8 rebounds a night.
Embiid has struggled to stay healthy in recent years, which has cost the Sixers come playoff time. Embiid suffered a fracture in his face late in the season two years ago, and last season he dealt with flu-like symptoms during the team’s loss in seven games at the hands of the Raptors in the conference semis.