Ben Simmons, Al Horford say 76ers' Team Chemistry is Better Than Ever

Justin Grasso

Throughout the 2019-2020 NBA season, the Philadelphia 76ers struggled on and off the court. On the court, they underwhelmed when playing away from home. Off the court, the chemistry just wasn't ideal at all times. At a point, Al Horford revealed that "some things were going on," behind the scenes.

Sixers starting shooting guard Josh Richardson reportedly galvanized the troops at a point and led an internal "dialogue" as Tobias Harris described it. Months later, during the NBA's suspension, Harris admitted the team's chemistry wasn't perfect throughout the year. However, as Sixers players spent months away from each other, the team rebuilt relationships and grew closer via Zoom and group messages.

And by the time the Sixers got down to Orlando, Florida, to live and compete in the NBA's bubble, Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons noticed the team's bond has grown stronger. And he believes that will go a long way as the season's restart nears.

"We know we're going to be here for a minute," Simmons said before practice on Friday. "For us, our goal is to win. Everybody is coming in with that mindset. Nobody is coming in here wanting to leave or with a bad attitude. So once everybody has that same mindset, which everybody does now, it's so much easier to have that chemistry to build and on the floor that translates. I think this is the best the team has been since we've been together collectively. The chemistry is much better than how it was earlier on this season."

Following Simmons' pre-practice presser, Sixers veteran center Al Horford agreed with the 24-year-old star's sentiment regarding the improvements of team chemistry. Being that Horford has only been with the 76ers for this season alone, he's under the belief that the team's unusual setup has been quite beneficial for a team that's looking to turn things around over the next eight games and more.

"I think that for our team, having this time off was helpful," Horford stated before Friday's practice session. "Not only from a health point of view but also us being able to spend this time here together as a group. Having team dinners, hanging out after practices, doing different things as a group -- I just think it has strengthened our group, and I believe it's going to be beneficial for our team moving forward."

The Sixers will restart the season on Saturday night with a regular-season matchup against the Indiana Pacers. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_

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