It’s been more than a year since we’ve seen Ben Simmons play basketball. This is bad because Simmons has the potential to be a superstar, a wildly talented prospect who stands at nearly seven feet tall but has the skill set and basketball savvy of a guard. There haven’t been many players quite like him, and as long as he stays healthy, he should be a force for years to come.
But that’s kind of the problem with Simmons. While the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft played in Summer League, Simmons suffered a fracture in his right foot that cost him the entirety of last year. Between this and the injury that befell Joel Embiid, Philadelphia’s two brightest young stars suffered season-ending injuries in 2016-17.
The good news is that the team expects both to play during this upcoming season. In fact, Simmons is already back out on the court, as he’s been cleared without limitations for a while, according to Sixers beat writer Tom Moore.
Simmons is one of the favorites to win Rookie of the Year this season, so it’s a good sign that he’s able to get onto the court now and prepare to play right away. He has a ton of hype to live up to, and he can use all the preparation time he can get. As for Embiid, the news isn’t as great, although things could be much worse.
The source said center Joel Embiid hasn’t been cleared for fullcourt scrimmaging “as of yet.” Embiid, who is from Cameroon, worked with children as part of the NBA Africa Game earlier this month, but didn’t play in the Aug. 5 game.
It goes without saying, but Philadelphia having Simmons and Embiid healthy all season would be huge. While it would remain to be seen if they could make the postseason, they certainly wouldn’t be as bad as they’ve been over the last few years.