The Sixers open up their season against the Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Outside of Desiigner performing at halftime highlights will include Joel Embiid and Dario Saric making their professional debuts. When it comes to a winning outlook for this season, major media sources predict the Sixers to get less than 25 wins but even that is an improvement from the 10-72 record last season. The team is still managing to head in the right direction and that all starts with how this young roster performs early on in the season.
Jerryd Bayless, Nerlens Noel, and Ben Simmons makeup the list of players that will be injured to start the season. Bayless is reported to miss a month after not having to receive surgery on a torn ligament in his wrist. Noel will likely miss more than a month after having knee surgery this past Monday and Brett Brown has said that Simmons will be fully recovered by January. Simmons suffered from a broken bone in his foot during the last team practice before the preseason started so it is a huge relief to here that he will still play this season.
Compared to division rivals the Sixers are probably only capable of finishing with a better record than the Nets. Although the Nets finished 11 games better than the Sixers last season, but they were just as much of a trainwreck. Brooklyn, like Philly, are in rebuild mode but the Sixers are much farther through the process. The Celtics and Knicks are teams that will likely make the playoffs and lose in the first round while the Raptors have a roster that’s very capable of competing with Cleveland. There’s a chance that the Sixers finish in last place yet again because the Atlantic Division is constantly improving.
According to Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly, Brett Brown still isn’t sure who the starting PG will be for the game tomorrow night. The guards on the roster who have the highest chance of getting the starting spot are T.J. McConnell and Sergio Rodriguez who was acquired in the offseason. Rodriguez is going through his second stint in the NBA and throughout the preseason he has paired well with Embiid. But at the same time, McConnell also played well in the preseason and has had experience as the starting point guard throughout last season. Jerryd Bayless would be the starting Point Guard if it wasn’t for his injury status.
Brett Brown hasn’t officially announced a starting five for the Wednesday night game but we will provide updates through @SportingEdge1 on Twitter when the lineup is released. Something similar to Rodriguez/McConnell, Gerald Henderson, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and Joel Embiid will be put on the floor for most of the game but expect Jahlil Okafor and Richaun Holmes to get a solid amount of minutes off the bench. Saric and Embiid aren’t the only two Sixers making their professional debuts as Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will also be making his debut coming off the bench. It will be interesting to see if Nik Stauskas will be able to bounce back after a season full of poor shooting performances last year.
While the team embarks on a season without their prize-fighter Ben Simmons, they still have the opportunity to do so much with the roster that they have. Leading up to this season the Sixers were battered with injuries and even though several key players will be watching from the sidelines, doors have been opened for other players to make their mark. When Simmons is ready to play the team will be on a whole different level of good basketball.
Writer: Tylar Pomroy (email@example.com)
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Image courtesy of CSN Philly