The main takeaway from the Philadelphia 76ers first three preseason games is there isn’t one. It’s not real basketball, according to Sixers guard Seth Curry. The team will know its true identity once the regular season starts.
The elephant in the room – more like a whale at this point – is Ben Simmons. His return could dramatically impact the way Philly runs its offense as well as the manner in which it attacks matchups on the defensive end. For now, Curry can only judge the Sixers by what he’s seen on the practice floor – with the guys that were in the gym from the start of training camp.
“Preseason, it’s hard to tell. It’s not real basketball,” Curry told reporters. “It’s hard to take too much away from those games. I take more away from practices and the stuff we did getting better every day on the practice floor. But preseason-wise I wouldn’t take too much from it, positively or negatively. Other than some of the young guys getting burn, those guys getting some confidence, and figuring out who they are going to be as players.”
Curry did offer an evaluation of how the squad has looked over these last two weeks. They have tweaked both the offense and defense to adjust to Simmons’s absence. Very minor changes, ones easily switchable should Simmons step on the court.
“Our offense is doing pretty good. It’s looked pretty good,” Curry said. “Made a couple of adjustments defensively as far as as stuff we want to do, not going to give specifics. We’re also trying to play defense without Ben, so different matchups and stuff. It’s a little bit different but we’ll figure it out once the regular season starts.”
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Doc Rivers Updates Injury Report
Tyrese Maxey was back at Sixers practice on October 13 after sitting out the third preseason games with an adductor injury. And Matisse Thybulle remained sidelined with shoulder soreness. He is considered day-to-day as the team continues to monitor what could be a lingering issue.
The defensive stopper has missed the last two exhibition games. Thybulle’s status for the exhibition finale (October 15) remains in jeopardy.
“I think Matisse may practice tomorrow [October 14],” head coach Doc Rivers said. “If he doesn’t practice tomorrow, he won’t play.”
That sounds pretty cut and dry. Meanwhile, Tobias Harris (knee) missed practice on Wednesday (October 13). Ditto for Shake Milton (ankle) and Grant Riller (knee). The latter underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee. Simmons is officially listed day-to-day until he clears the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Sixers, Better or Worse?
Curry was asked to predict how the Sixers might fare in the 2021-22 campaign. They were the top seed in the Eastern Conference last season during the regular season. Obviously, that didn’t translate to a championship. Another year in Rivers’ system should make them stronger and closer, according to Curry.
“You saw last year we were a very good team,” Curry said. “We got a lot of the same core guys back this year, so we just got to keep getting better. Top of the league last year, as far as talent-wise, regular season, and stuff we did.”