There are plenty of storylines when it comes to Ben Simmons’ preseason debut.
Wednesday night’s matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies will be his first mano a mano since March 12, 2016, when he was a freshman at Louisiana State University. One would think the 6-foot-10, 230-pound point guard would be overly excited to play in his first game – preseason or not. After all, the 2016 first overall pick was sidelined all of last season with a Jones fracture to his right foot.
“As long as we win, I’m happy,” he said Tuesday. “That’s my thought going in. We got to leave with a win, and as long as we get better, I’m happy.”
“A little, I mean … I have been doing this my whole life,” Simmons said. “It’s just on another stage now. It’s the biggest stage in the world.
“But I’m looking forward to it and I’m excited.”
Simmons was initially on chill-mode. However, he’s been waiting for Wednesday’s game for a long time.
Like most people, he wants to see who the Grizzlies and then the Boston Celtics on Friday will put on him. Memphis could opt to use small forward James Ennis III or mobile power forward Chandler Parsons instead of a guard to defend him.
“I have no idea who they are going to put on me,” Simmons said. “How they are going to guard me. So we’ll see.
“I think I’m going to learn a lot from the first week here [in the preseason.]”
Sixers coach Brett Brown is also eager to find out.
Yet, he wants Simmons and Markelle Fultz be to patient and for Sixers fans to be patient with these two top picks. The Sixers selected Fultz out of Washington in June’s NBA draft.
“We are not going to come in here, and say ‘Ben you are going to master your position. Markelle you are going to start burying threes,” Brown said of Wednesday’s game. He said the season is a long, steady evolution.
“That’s stuff that impatient people might not like to hear. But it’s the truth.”
The Sixers will be without Dario Saric, Joel Embiid and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot against the Grizzlies. Saric is fatigued after playing for his native Croatia last month in EuroBasket. The Sixers want to give him some time off.
Embiid and Luwawu-Cabarrot are also sidelined for Friday’s matchup. Embiid hasn’t played since January because of torn meniscus in his left knee. Luwawu-Cabarrot is overcoming patellar tendinitis in his right knee.
Meanwhile, Amir Johnson is questionable for Wednesday game after suffering a practice-ending sprained right ankle on Tuesday. He will be reevaluated on Wednesday.
Marc Gasol (ankle) and Chester native Tryeke Evans (migraines) will miss the game for the Grizzlies.