The Philadelphia 76ers are entering the 2016-17 NBA season with the goal of ending their playoff drought. However, with Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, and Nerlens Noel sidelined due to injury, will the Sixers suffer another disappointing season?
The arrival of Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, and Joel Embiid gives hope in the City of Brotherly Love that the Sixers will be back to the playoffs. Simmons was the No. 1 overall pick in the recent NBA draft, while Saric and Embiid have only managed to join the Sixers now for various reasons.
However, with the start of the preseason, the Philadelphia 76ers suffered an early disaster after three of their key players suffered injuries – Ben Simmons (foot), Jahlil Okafor (knee), and Nerlens Noel (groin). Of all the big men, Simmons will miss most of the regular season games and is expected to be out for three to four months.
The absence of Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel make way for Joel Embiid to showcase his talent. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft is projected to be the starting center of the Sixers in the upcoming season. His dominance under the basket and ability to stretch the floor makes him more deserving than the two Sixers’ injured big men.
Meanwhile, Sixers head coach Brett Brown has high praise for the Croatian power forward Dario Saric. In the recent preseason games, Saric averaged 9.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists.
“I love coaching Dario. He’s tough. He’s smart. He’s everything that we thought he was going to be. He goes hard,” Brown said. “When I watch him out here [at practice], he really does. He’s a prideful defender. He’s a prideful worker. And that’s just how he’s wired. He’s a pro.”
In their preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Brown decided to rest Dario Saric to preserve his body for the long haul. Sixers’ centers Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel were also out due to injuries. There is no confirmation when will the two big men be back on the court but the Sixers are hoping that they will be fully recovered when the 2016-17 NBA season starts.
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