August 31, 2023
Deep in the month of August, it's hard to believe anyone can be made to think about the Sixers, let alone summon questions to ask me about the team. But no matter how many times this team decides to let you down, your curiosity persists, and I admire that about Philadelphians.
Let's get to the latest batch of questions for this mailbag.
Is Ben coming back possible?— A-King (@KingAAK23) August 30, 2023
In theory, sure, it is possible that Simmons could come back, just like it is possible I could wake up tomorrow and hit the lottery. Maybe Simmons is a minimum contract player with everything to prove and the Sixers have a need down the road; maybe Simmons finally discovers a jumpshot in a meaningful way and he becomes an easier piece to fit; maybe the Sixers trade Embiid and build a radically different team that Simmons fits into better. You can make up possibilities and rationalize them in your head, and the fanbase is down so bad that I've seen more than a few people entertaining these ideas on social media.
But here on Earth One, a return would require several meaningful, significant changes on both ends of the equation. The Sixers are certainly not interested in max contract Simmons in any way, shape, or form right now, nor is basically anyone else in the league. To warrant real consideration beyond his current contract, he has to prove he can be a normal basketball player after putting together by far his worst year as a pro last season. If we chalk that up to nothing more than physical limitations, the burden of proof is still on him, as issues with his back have now been relevant for several years. Athleticism has been a central pillar of his effectiveness up to this point, and if he is more limited there moving forward, he would need to reimagine his game to be a meaningful contributor. It would be an absolute circus if he returned here at some point, and the diminished version of Simmons we saw last year is nowhere near worth that.
So never say never, but I wouldn't buy a future custom City Edition jersey and put No. 25 and "Simmons" on the back.
If you had to guess, do you think there's a better chance that Tyrese Maxey does or doesn't make an All-Star team at some point in his career?— Drew (@DrewSportsNews) August 30, 2023
Maxey has all the ingredients to make a team — he's super likable, he improves every season, and he's fun to watch — though he'll have to become more of a team and winning driver in order for him to get in the mix. With Embiid basically a nailed-on All-Star, the Sixers are going to struggle to get a second guy in the game unless they are one of the dominant regular-season teams the league has to offer. Failing that, he'll probably end up being perennially on the fringe, with the talent to battle for a spot but never quite crossing the threshold.
(From a narrative perspective, Harden leaving and Maxey upping his production once again would be a huge jolt for him, though that partnership has allowed him to focus on his strengths while Harden does much of what Maxey can't yet.)
Enjoying your summer, Kyle?— Impulse (@impulse020) August 30, 2023
And a potential fun one: one way I consider a band to become a "favorite" of mine is if 50-75% (depending on discography size) of their songs are favorites or anytime listens. If you take this same theory to the current NBA teams (excluding Sixers b/c…
The Grizzlies used to rank fairly high here, though Marcus Smart's admittedly helpful talents probably take them down a notch (maybe that's offset by the departure of Dillon Brooks' shenanigans), and they'll be without Ja Morant for about a quarter of the season.
I think I tend to enjoy watching teams who are interesting offensively despite valuing defense more than most people. It's either why I ended up rooting for Liverpool in EPL or a product of that fandom, because they have a history in my lifetime of talismanic goalscorers (Michael Owen, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, and so on) who required more than they got from the rest of the team.
Only one that matters - will Harden be on the roster on opening night?— Will Negron (@HomeoftheThrill) August 30, 2023
Do you prefer hair gel or hair foam— Dert2:Ⓜ️agicJ3️⃣tt🛩️💛 💙 (@DertTheSequel) August 30, 2023
Is there a path forward that avoids nba purgatory? I can't think of a single one with the depletion of assets.— Jim D (@jjd0101) August 31, 2023
What's the level of excitement regarding the new stadium, if at all? From what I've seen it's mostly just resignation it's likely going to happen but no one I know is that interested.— cwscogna (@cwscogna) August 30, 2023
I think a new arena is something people enjoy in the abstract, particularly when taxpayers don't have to fund its construction, but I do think the biggest challenge (beyond getting the residents of Chinatown on board) is changing the habits of multiple generations of fans. There are thousands if not millions of people who only know a world where they go down to South Philly, set up shop in or around the lots, and then go watch their favorite teams. While a good chunk of the fans come in via the BSL, converting more people into public transit riders for a downtown arena requires a shift that will be cultural for a lot of fans. It may end up changing who comes to games and from where, and I'm not clairvoyant enough to know if that's good or bad.
Until there's a material impact on people's lives and/or people can actually experience the grandeur of a newer, shinier arena, I just think it's hard to get people to care about things that are seven or eight years down the road.
Do you think Nurse will be more inclusive than Doc in giving opportunities to unproven young guys like Springer, Council, and Terquavion Smith, or do you think he'll keep a short rotation like his last couple years in Toronto?— Joshua Lewis (@philandererstie) August 30, 2023
But since we're not even that close to training camp yet, it's only an assumption. I hope we can see some serious Terq Smith action this year, even if he'll be equal parts frustrating and explosive.
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