The 76ers intend to use Ben Simmons sparingly in the upcoming scrimmages.
Playing in the three contests has nothing to do with his recovery from pinched nerves in his lower back, according to coach Brett Brown.
“I believe when it gets in the regular-season games, you are going to see normal numbers that I played him,” Brown said Saturday before the Sixers’ first practice at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla. “That answer isn’t delivered because of anything to do with health. It’s delivered because I think that’s the way I want to do it.”
The Sixers will also be frugal with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris during scrimmages against the Memphis Grizzlies (July 24), the Oklahoma City Thunder (July 26) and Dallas Mavericks (July 28) “because of their stature more than anything to do with their health,” said Brown.
Simmons missed the final eight games before the season was shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 11.
The Sixers open up the eight-game regular season or “seeding games” against the Indiana Pacers on Aug. 1. The playoffs start Aug. 17.
Ryan Broekhoff will have to wait to battle for a spot in the Sixers’ rotation.
Broekhoff did not travel with the team for the NBA restart due to what the team labeled as personal reasons. The Sixers didn’t have any additional information Saturday morning..
A team spokesman said the organization will provide updates when appropriate. The National Basketball Players Association doesn’t want teams to identify players who test positive for COVID-19. But players who did test positive didn’t fly with their teams to Orlando, but some players also didn’t travel for other reasons.
The Australian player recently signed a contract to play with the Sixers during their trip to Florida. The 29-year-old last played in an NBA game on Feb. 8 for the Dallas Mavericks.
Broekhoff averaged 4.0 points and 10.7 minutes while shooting 40.3% from three-point range in 59 career games with Dallas.
Brown was asked if the players on the trip all received negative tests and would be available to practice.
“It is my understanding that this is true,” Brown said. “So unless something has happened that I’m unaware of, yes.”
The Sixers arrived on Thursday and had to quarantine for 36 hours in their rooms. The only contact they had was with people administering COVID-19 testing. They had to have two negative tests before they were allowed out of their rooms and able to practice on Saturday.
Matisse Thybulle released the first episode of Welcome To The Bubble on Saturday on YouTube.
It gives an inside look of his trip to Florida and inside the bubble. The episode chronicles his experience on Thursday, everything from picking up Chick-fil-A for teammates for the flight, to checking into his Florida hotel room, to initially eating dinner without utensils.
Thybulle shot and edited the entire episode.
Tobias Harris was excited to reunite with his best friend and former teammate Boban Marjanovic.
Marjanovic joined the Sixers in February 2019 along with Harris and Mike Scott via a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. Marjanovic signed with the Dallas Mavericks this offseason. He and Harris were also former Detroit Pistons teammates.
The two are both staying at the Grand Floridian Hotel. Saturday was the first time they were permitted to socialize due to the Sixers quarantining on Thursday and Friday.
But that didn’t stop them from joking around while Harris, from his balcony, looked on at Marjanovic on a walkway.
The duo also starred in the Bobi + Tobi Show, which aired on YouTube.
“We may do something,” Harris said. “We will see what happens. Obviously, it’s always good to be around Bobi, and see as you saw yesterday him in front of my hotel room.
“It’s always lighthearted. It’s a fun thing. I definitely look forward to catching up with him while I’m out there, too.”