The Philadelphia 76ers were not in peak shape shape when the season went on hiatus in March. Without star Ben Simmons they were 7.5 games from first place, but with the hiatus Ben Simmons is now ready to return. SI's Chris Mannix shares what to expect from the 76ers in the resumed season.
Robin Lundberg: The Philadelphia 76ers were a team that many could say underachieved or was underachieving with its star players, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. But could that change come the postseason? For more, I'm joined by our senior writer, Chris Mannix. Chris, you believe that the Philadelphia 76ers could be a surprise contender?
Chris Mannix: Yeah, I mean, look, we don't know what teams are going to look like until they get back on the floor. But there are certain things that you can kind of assume about a resumed season. One is that some of the skills that are needed to succeed will be a little duller, namely Three-Point shooting. We might see some awful three point shooting numbers. There might be higher value in having a dominant low-post presence. There might be higher value in having a defensive-minded team. And all those things I describe Robin, describe the Philadelphia 76ers. They were one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA throughout the 19-20 season. But now that it's about to be restarted is a completely different way. You could see the Sixers who look comfortable winning one of those 90-to-86 types of games, who don't rely on the three point shot, got a big man and Joel Embiid, who has said he's working out six times per day during this hiatus and says is in great shape. So Philadelphia looked like they were in for a lost season just a few months ago. They could revive that season very quickly I think.
Robin Lundberg: Now, they did have a home court advantage. They played much better at home. Do you think, though, the lack of fans could impact them?
Chris Mannix: I think they were maybe in a different way. I mean, the Sixers I mean, not having to go on the road. Maybe that could be a bad for them as well. I mean, that's just what it was. Great unknowns as well. I think the biggest question, though, is the health status of Ben Simmons. I spoke to Brett Brown, the Sixers coach, just this week. And Brett told me that while he expects Ben Simmons to play, it's going to be a case of being brought along slowly. So Ben Simmons isn't gonna come back and play thirty, thirty-five minutes a night. I think how much he's able to play and the effectiveness with which he's able to play with will probably the biggest factor for the Sixers coming back.