The process treks onward. As the 2017-2018 regular season inches closer, the season before the season begins Wednesday night for the Philadelphia 76ers, taking on the Memphis Grizzlies at 7:00PM in South Philadelphia. There is a lot to look forward to in the 14 days that remain before the 76ers head to DC to take on the Wizards in the first game that counts.
Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons Taking The Floor: It was very relieving for 76ers fans and basketball fans alike to hear that both Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are “100%” and that neither will be on a minute restriction throughout the season like Joel Embiid was this past season. Ben Simmons is coming off of a broken foot which kept him out this entire past season. However, he was extremely connected with the team, traveling with the squad, working out with the other players and really integrating himself into “the program” as head coach Brett Brown likes to call it. Markelle Fultz, the #1 pick in the 2017 draft suffered a minor ankle injury in Summer League, but has had no setbacks and will be ready to put on that red, white and blue after a tremendous season at Washington where he averaged 23 points and almost 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
Joel Embiid Improving…Slowly: After surgery on the knee of Joel Embiid after injuring it on this play, it has been an extremely long recovery process for “The Process” from Cameroon. The doctors and management are taking a “conservative and thoughtful approach to his recovery and rehabilitation” according to GM Bryan Colangelo. Embiid has recently been cleared for half-court 5 vs. 5 play, but still hasn’t played it at full court pace. He will miss the first two preseason games. The team still targets that first regular season game, October 18th, as Embiid’s 2017-2018 debut. No need to throw him out there in the games that don’t matter.
The Borderline Players, There are a Lot: There are twenty players on the 76ers’ training camp roster, and after #10 or so, the remaining players are all pretty close on talent level. Will T.J. McConnell get the minutes he deserves backing up Fultz or will he slip behind Jerryd Bayless (coming off of wrist surgery) on the depth chart? Will Nik Stauskas make the team with additions to the two guard position in Furkan Korkmaz and JJ Redick? Where does Jahlil Okafor fit in the big man situation which now includes Amir Johnson and Kris Humphires. These and more will be answered when the roster cuts begin.
Starting Five: This question really is one that has been debated all summer. Who is going to start for this team? If Embiid is healthy, it will be him, Fultz, Simmons and two others right? Not so fast, there have been rumors that Jerryd Bayless could steal a spot in the starting lineup. The consensus though seems to think Fultz, Redick, Covington, Simmons and Embiid will be the ones announced coming out of the tunnel on October 20th in Philly in the home opener. The fans will have to wait and see what Brett Brown and company go with.