Imagine a world where Brandon Ingram was in the starting five and Ben Simmons never put on a Sixers’ uniform. It almost happened. Former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie was enamored with Ingram in 2016, but he didn’t get to make the pick. Bryan Colangelo did.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that Hinkie “preferred Brandon Ingram over Ben Simmons” at the time. That plan was scrapped when Hinkie resigned (read: forced out by the NBA?) and the Sixers turned the reins over to Colangelo. The thing about revisionist history is nobody will ever know for certain what Hinkie would have done. Simmons went No. 1 to the Sixers; Ingram went No. 2 to the Lakers; and neither player is with the team that drafted him today. Ho-hum.
Why are we still talking about this? Well, it had to sting to watch Ingram turn in a dominating playoff performance on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-8 forward was sensational and nearly tallied a triple-double: 37 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists. His New Orleans Pelicans – Ingram was traded there from Los Angeles in 2019 – rallied back to beat the Phoenix Suns and tie that series up at 1-1.
“He’s that guy,” teammate Larry Nance said of Ingram, via ESPN. “I watch guys like B.I. and [CJ McCollum] and sometimes it’s like they’re playing a different sport. They’re that impressive.”
The Pelicans-Suns game has a slew of Philly connections, including a few painful ones. Pelicans head coach Willie Green was a fan-favorite player during his seven seasons with the Sixers. The Pelicans also have CJ McCollum who was rumored to be headed to Philly in multiple trade scenarios. Meanwhile, Suns forward Mikal Bridges was drafted by the Sixers in 2018 and then traded that same night in a very unpopular move.
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Simmons Targeting Game 4 Return for Brooklyn?
Ben Simmons might make his Brooklyn Nets debut in Game 4 on Monday (April 25). That date is a “realistic target,” per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and he still hasn’t been ruled out for Game 3 (April 23). Simmons, of course, hasn’t played a real basketball game since choking in the playoffs for Philadelphia last year.
The three-time All-Star was traded to Brooklyn on February 10 after a drama-filled eight months. Simmons refused to suit up for the Sixers while citing mental health issues and a sore back amid reports of anger toward the organization. It didn’t end well and now he’ll look to save his fading reputation with a strong playoff run.
Game 3: Sixers-Raptors Injury Report
The Sixers-Raptors playoff series shifts to Toronto tonight (April 20) for Game 3. Matisse Thybulle is ineligible to play since he’s not fully vaccinated. Charles Bassey was also listed out on the latest injury report due to a right shoulder sprain.
Scottie Barnes is doubtful after missing Game 2 with a left ankle sprain. The Raptors rookie showed up at shootaround out of his walking boot and seemed to be walking around fine, per TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. Gary Trent Jr. is probable with a non-COVID illness.