The 76ers were dealing with many injuries before the NBA suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic. Will this benefit Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons?
The Sixers struggled without their two stars. This is not surprising because Embiid and Simmons have a big presence on both sides of the court.
This was evident in the team's recent losses against the Clippers and Lakers. The Sixers rank 6th in the league, allowing 107.4 points per game but they allowed 117.6 points in five games without Embiid and Simmons.
The Clippers and Lakers took advantage of a depleted 76ers team. The high-usage of players like Montrezl Harrell and Anthony Davis was a smart move for those teams and it evidenced that the 76ers lack size without Embiid.
These two teams shot a combined 45.6 percent from 3-point range in those games. Would that have happened with Ben Simmons on the court. We will never know but what we saw without him proves that perimeter defense can be an issue for this team.
Embiid returned in the 124-106 home win against the Pistons on March 11th, just before the NBA season was suspended and he played extremely well, scoring 30 points with 14 rebounds in 27 minutes. It was against a weak Pistons team but Embiid was a difference-maker.
Ben Simmons missed the last eight games with a back injury and he was gradually increasing the activities in his strength and conditioning program.
“There’s no timeline on it,” Simmons said on March 11th. “Whenever I’m back, I’m back. Whenever I’m 100 percent, I’m coming back. I’m not here to sit and just wait. When I’m healthy, I’ll be playing.”
According to the 23-year-old, he feels no pain in his back and hasn’t considered surgery.
“To know where I am compared to two weeks ago, I feel much, much better,” Simmons said. “I’m very confident.”
The 76ers won’t have to rush back their two star players for the first round of the playoffs once the season resumes. Embiid and Simmons might not play together efficiently but their combined absences evidence that the 76ers missed their presence at both ends of the court.
Odds to Win the Eastern Conference
Milwaukee Bucks -175
Boston Celtics +500
Toronto Raptors +700
Philadelphia 76ers +1200
Miami Heat +1400
Brooklyn Nets +2500
Indiana Pacers +2500
Orlando Magic +15000
Odds Provided By A1pph.com