Is Ben Simmons Back to Play for Sixers or for Procedural Reasons?
One thing we know for sure is that Ben Simmons is back with the Sixers.
One thing we don't know for sure, is why. At this point nobody knows why, including Sixers head coach Doc Rivers.
"I don't know that," Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said when asked if Simmons was back with the team for procedural reasons. "I'm assuming he's going to play, but who knows, I don't know that. I can't get in anyone's head."
As the team prepares to open the regular season in New Orleans on Wednesday night, there is still mystery whether Simmons will suit up to play or is he just back with the team so he doesn't continue to rack up fines.
The team was back at practice on Wednesday, but Simmons was unable to be there due to NBA COVID-19 protocols, but according to reports, worked out individually and has still yet to see or speak to his Sixer teammates.
"If he does he does. If he doesn't he doesn't." said Danny Green when asked if he expects Simmons to apologize to the team for his elongated absence. "That doesn't matter do us at this point. We just want everyone to come here, show up and do their part. I'm not asking him to do anything different than he normally does, just show up, work and do what you normally do, because what he normally does, we're very effective."
Green explained that with Simmons playing his normal role, the team finished as the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference last season, so he doesn't expect him to come in and have to do different things.
"We're not asking him to shoot jump-shots," Green said. "Just come in, be a pro, do your job. That's what we expect from him."
The one issue has been that Simmons has been a very good, All-Star level player in the regular season. While is offensive limitations are apparent, they shine much brighter when the lights get brighter in the NBA Playoffs - especially in the second-round of playoff competition.
Sure his defense, play-making ability in the open floor and his ability to find his teammate and get them open shots is a big reason for the teams success, it seems to have gotten them only so far, can they get over that next hurdle if Simmons game doesn't evolve more?
"I be able to see when he steps on the floor, where his head is at. I don't feel like he needs to explain anything to me," said Sixers guard Seth Curry. "He's a grown man and he can do whatever he wants. When he steps on that floor, the goal should be to win, so we'll see what happens."
Rivers stated that the fact of Simmons was there is all he is focused on, not if he was there just so he doesn't get fined.
However, until Simmons steps on the floor in a game, the question needs to be asked. We'll find out when the Sixers open the season on Wednesday in New Orleans (Listen on 97.3 ESPN at 7 p.m.)