The Philadelphia 76ers played the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday and lost 110-89. In a game where the Grizzlies played grueling defense holding the Sixers to 89 points and shot almost 47 percent from the field, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz were introduced to the NBA. Simmons had a complete game scoring six points, seven rebounds and nine assists.
Fultz on the other hand had a game in which to forget in which he scored four points on 13 shots. Jahlil Okafor had a good game. Okafor has been involved in trade rumors but he managed to pour in 13 points for the Sixers.
Simmons missed easy contact layups that looked like he was just getting acclimated to the NBA. Fultz looked more like a rookie. He was unable to create separation and get his shot off. In game experience will teach them creative ways to create space to get their offense off.
Head coach Brett Brown talked about how the two rookies did for the Sixers. According to Philly.com Brown said:
“I look at Ben Simmons and I look at Markelle, and I’m reminded of the year that Ben had with us,” Brown said, referring to the year Simmons spent recovering from the broken foot he suffered last year in training camp. “And it helps, the familiarity of the NBA, the familiarity of the program. I don’t see Ben like I see Markelle in relation to they both haven’t played any NBA games at all. I think Ben tonight you could see was an advanced rookie in my eyes.”
Head coach for the Grizzlies, David Fizdale spoke in high praise of Ben Simmons saying that he doesn’t want to see him for the next 15 years. Simmons proved Wednesday that he will be one of the toughest matchup problems for years to come.
The Sixers may be getting help soon. Joel Embiid has been cleared to pratice five on five drills and he fully participated in practice on Thursday. Embiid will not play on Friday against the Boston Celtics but he is being worked in slowly to get ready for the October 18th regular season opening meeting with the Washington Wizards.
Embiid was the team’s leading scorer last year so that could create a target for Simmons to pass the ball to and help his offense flow.
Also, it could help take the defense off of Fultz and it will give him freedom to get his shot off. Getting all three players to play sometime during the preseason will be the key for the Sixers especially with all them being so young.
As for the other players Robert Covington, J.J. Redick and Jaryd Bayless showed that they will be crucial factors for the Sixers to win games because of one factor. Their ability to spot up and shoot the three. Simmons with his passing ability found Redick, Bayless and Covington for three-point makes in the game on Wednesday.
If the Sixers are able to run the floor with Simmons controlling the ball at point they should be able to get fast break threes that are back breaking to a defense. Simmons showed flashes in his first game and Fultz has things to work on but as coach Brown said Simmons has a redshirt year if you will under his belt.
The two players will only get better and with Embiid on the mend getting ready to play the offense will only get better. Bright things are on the horizon for the Sixers in the future.