Ben Simmons is aware of the smoke awaits in Philadelphia.
Smoke off the court docket, that’s, not on it, as a result of whereas Simmons is returning to Philly on Tuesday for his first regular-season sport towards the 76ers since his blockbuster commerce to the Nets final season, each Joel Embiid and James Harden will sit for the Sixers resulting from damage.
Harden and Embiid additionally missed the preseason opener towards Simmons and the Nets in Brooklyn on Oct. 3. The MVP-caliber huge man is out with a left mid-foot sprain, and Harden is working by a tendon pressure in his proper foot.
These rabid Sixer followers, nevertheless, wouldn’t miss this for the world.
They’re the identical followers that not solely traveled to Brooklyn to boo Simmons throughout pregame introductions for a preseason sport — however in addition they waited outdoors of the Nets’ crew lodge to boo Simmons throughout the crew’s journey to Philly final season. They booed Simmons that sport too, though he wasn’t taking part in, barely participated in warmup drills and wearing avenue garments to observe from the bench.
They booed Simmons as a result of he got here up brief in Sport 7 of Philly’s 2021 Japanese Convention semifinals matchup towards the Atlanta Hawks. Most notably, he handed up an open dunk in crunch time to a teammate who missed the next diploma of issue shot.
The possession swung the momentum of the sport.
Embiid threw Simmons beneath the bus after the sport, as did Sixers head coach Doc Rivers, who not solely questioned whether or not or not Simmons may very well be the purpose guard on a championship crew — but in addition selected to not replicate on his time teaching Simmons when the Sixers visited the Brooklyn throughout the preseason opener.
A reporter requested Simmons if he thinks sufficient time has handed since his time taking part in in Philadelphia that Sixer followers may take it straightforward on him.
His response immediately went viral on social media — as did his facial features.
“In Philly?! Come on now. I do know what’s coming,” he stated with fun after scoring a season-high 22 factors towards the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. “It’s a part of the sport. Philly followers, one factor about them is they’re unbelievable. They’re die-hard Philly. Every part Philly, no matter it’s. I respect that concerning the metropolis It’s a sports activities city. I used to be speaking to Yuta (Watanabe) earlier than the sport about what it’s prefer to play in Philly. It’s an unbelievable opproutunity to placed on no matter jersey it’s. That’s philly it’s a novel expertise.”
Even Jacque Vaughn had some enjoyable with the upcoming matchup.
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Requested concerning the feelings ready for Simmons’ arrival on the Wells Fargo Middle, Vaughn stated: “What emotion?”
Then, Vaughn shifted gears.
“It’s nice for him. It’s similar to Portland the place he needed to step up and make free throws after they tried to foul, (and he) makes three out of 4,” the Nets coach stated. “It’s the identical kind of psychological and bodily hurdle that he’s going to should get by. Which is nice. He’ll have his teammates behind him. He’ll have a coach that believes in him and general we’re trying ahead to going and play.”
Simmons stated he’s grown in “all sorts of methods” since arriving there are an 18-year-old participant out of LSU.
“That’s actually the one place I’ve lived as an grownup, so I’ve loads of love for that metropolis and folks don’t know that,” he stated. “However loads of my finest associates are from Philadelphia. My brother nonetheless lives in Philadelphia. So whatever the scenario and issues no matter occurred, occurred. However I’ve received loads of loads of love for that metropolis. So I’ll stay up for happening there and taking part in.”
Simmons says he’s treating his return to Philly as a “new expertise” and isn’t frightened about any narratives.
“Clearly, you guys are going to make headlines and titles and no matter that’s. I’m excited to go play,” he stated. “I haven’t had the chance to go play there on the opposite aspect of the ground, so it will likely be a terrific expertise. That’s how I take a look at it each sport. it’s a brand new expertise. I’m trying ahead to getting a win.”