Joel Embiid is done for the season after suffering a torn meniscus. Ben Simmons, who has yet to make his NBA regular-season debut, joins him on the sidelines with a broken foot. When will we see them play again, preferably together? The summer league, perhaps?
The Philadelphia 76ers aren’t sure.
From Calkins Media’s Tom Moore:
On Feb. 24, president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said the 76ers “will talk about” Ben Simmons playing in the NBA Summer Leagues this summer.
Simmons, the No. 1 pick in June’s draft, has missed his entire rookie season due to a fractured right foot he suffered in training camp.
Prior to Monday night’s game against the Bucks, Sixers coach Brett Brown was asked if Simmons and Joel Embiid, whose left knee and cautiousness with his right foot surgeries are limiting him to 31 games this season, would play in the summer.
“I think it’s too early to make that judgment,” Brown said. “I hear the question, but I think that’s certainly stuff that we’re talking about. But in relation to giving a definite answer, we’re not even close to being there yet.”
Getting Simmons summer-league reps should be the goal if he’s up for it. You don’t want to throw him into the everyday NBA fray next season without some semi-recent game spin under his belt. The summer league doesn’t compare to opening-night NBA rosters, but it should help Simmons with his conditioning and allow him to work on his fundamentals without the pressure of losses counting toward standings that matter.
Throwing Embiid out there is less important. He hasn’t played in the summer league before and is only 31 games into his NBA career. But we know he’s a transcendent talent, that he can not only hang with, but rival and exceed the talent placed in front of him. There’s little reason to put him in exhibition games against rookies and fringe-roster candidates.
Then again, if it means getting Simmons and Embiid to play together, even at half-speed so as not to risk additional injury, then hell yeah, the Sixers should do it strictly for our enjoyment.