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Ben Simmons says the Sixers’ half-court offense will get better with time | Off the Dribble

The Sixers, who have 10 new players and a new coaching staff, have had just two weeks to practice and play together.

Ben Simmons says the Sixers' half-court offense will get better with time.
Ben Simmons says the Sixers' half-court offense will get better with time.Read moreDarron Cummings / AP

Welcome, welcome, welcome. Welcome back to the NBA season!

Oh, and Happy Hump Day to y’all. The NBA season is officially upon us with the 76ers hosting the Washington Wizards tonight in a season opener for both teams at the Wells Fargo Center.

This officially begins the Doc Rivers era for a Sixers team that should finish no worse than 6-2 out of the gate heading into their Jan. 7 game at the Barclays Center against the Nets.

Make sure you come to throughout the season to keep up with your Sixers news.

You’re signed up to get this newsletter in your inbox every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers. Thank you for reading.

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Simmons thinks things will get better over time

Right now, the 76ers’ half-court offense is their Achilles’ Heel.

We all know that Ben Simmons is tough to stop when coming downhill in transition. Joel Embiid is one of the league’s best and most versatile post players. Tobias Harris is a solid third option, who can play both forward positions. And the addition of Danny Green and Seth Curry provides much-needed spacing.

But the Sixers’ half court has been a struggle during the preseason.

“It’s obvious that we haven’t been together that long,” Simmons said. “So with time, we are just going to get better.”

The Sixers didn’t begin training camp scrimmaging until Dec. 6. Green didn’t practice with the team until three days later as he was waited for his trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to become finalized.

The Sixers have had 14 days to learn a new offense.

“The areas I think we need to improve, I think it’s just moving the ball, cutting with urgency and just making the right plays,” Simmons said, “good to great, getting the best shots that we can.”

Starting Five

  1. Hold the hoopla: Why Sixers fans need to practice patience before boarding the hype train. There’s no substitute for time and no better teacher than experience. Cut Doc Rivers some slack after a COVID-19-shortened offseason and just two preseason games.

  2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons can coexist on the 76ers as long as they codevelop, writes Marcus Hayes. If they play faster, stay fit, and listen to their Doc, then they’ll be raising cats in Philadelphia for years to come.

  3. The Sixers’ first-round postseason exit, acquiring Danny Green, and everything that happened in between | Timeline. They have a new coaching staff, 10 new players, a new president of basketball operations, several new executives and a new vibe.

  4. No more excuses for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. It’s time for the Sixers’ stars to prove Doc Rivers right, writes David Murphy. Rivers thinks the Sixers can be a special team with Simmons and Embiid. It’s an old story with a new reason to believe.

  5. On the eve of the Sixers’ season, Ben Simmons dishes on James Harden rumors, and Joel Embiid talks coaching, writes Marc Narducci. Embiid also said this is a season of high hopes following a year in which the Sixers went 43-30 and were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.

Ring night for Los Angeles Lakers

On Tuesday, Los Angeles Lakers became the first NBA champions to not lead in a season opener the following season since the 2011-12 Dallas Mavericks. But something tells me the Lakers enjoyed their evening despite suffering a 116-109 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

That’s because before the game the 11 returning players from last season’s squad, coaches and executives received their championship rings in a ceremony at Staples Center.

Green and another new Sixer, Dwight Howard, were members of last season’s Lakers squad.

Important dates

Today: Washington Wizards at Sixers, 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center, NBC Sports Philadelphia

Saturday: Sixers at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m., Madison Square Garden, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBA-TV

Sunday: Sixers at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m., Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, NBC Sports Philadelphia

Tuesday: Toronto Raptors at Sixers, 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center, NBC Sports Philadelphia

Dec. 31: Sixers at Orlando Magic, 6:30 p.m., Amway Center, NBA Sports Philadelphia

Passing the Rock

Question: What are the roles for Furkan Korkmaz and Matisse Thybulle on this team? Seems like both could be deeper on the bench/trade bait this year. — @DrPosDev on Twitter

Answer:, What’s up, Doc? Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one. I hope you and your family are doing well. Thanks for the great question. In regards to Korkmaz, I think he will get every opportunity to remain in the rotation. Doc Rivers said he will have a key role off the bench. Korkmaz was even in the starting lineup before Green’s trade became official. In regards to Thybulle, I think he could be the odd man out of the rotation. Rivers said he wants a 10-man rotation. Dwight Howard, Mike Scott, Shake Milton and Korkmaz are all in the rotation. Plus, Rivers wants to give rookie point guard Tyrese Maxey some minutes. That could limit the playing time for Thybulle. Right now, I see him as a situational player.