While most 76ers fans are enjoying time at the Shore or on a Caribbean Island, it’s always fun to look ahead.
In the not-too-distant-future, the Sixers will be holding their fifth training camp under coach Brett Brown.
For the first time in five seasons, Brown will finally have a workable roster to juggle. It’s a potential playoff roster if everything works out, though that remains to be seen.
Arguably the most intriguing issue for Brown will be the daily decision of how to utilize Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz.
Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick two years ago from LSU, sat out the entire 2016-17 season after breaking a bone in his foot toward the end of training camp. At the recently held Las Vegas Summer League, Simmons boasted to reporters that he’s a “starting point guard.”
Then there’s Fultz, the No. 1 overall choice in this year’s draft from the University of Washington.
The Sixers moved up two spots in a deal with the Boston Celtics to grab Fultz, the consensus No. 1 pick.
This is such a unique situation and it will surely become fluid as the regular season inches closer.
Can Simmons and Fultz co-exist in the same backcourt? Which player should start? Can Simmons deal with possibly coming off the bench? Will they complement one another for long stretches?
Simmons has never been known as a terrific shooter and that was evident in his one season at LSU. Fultz isn’t an assassin either from beyond the arc. To be fair, both players only competed for the required one season in college before heading to the NBA so their skills aren’t completely refined.
The Sixers are such a young team and they need this dynamic duo to be effective so franchise cornerstone Joel Embiid can continue to develop into an All-Star.
Simmons is the wild card here. Since Simmons sat out the entire season, it’s difficult to judge how he’ll respond when he finally makes his debut and works his way through the marathon NBA schedule. The same goes for Fultz.
Philadelphia had so many issues with injuries last season that it led to minute restrictions, controversy and 54 losses, which was the best of Brown’s four seasons.
Assuming Simmons and Fultz are both healthy, which rookie should start? How many minutes should they each receive? Will they be able to handle the physical, mental and emotional rigor of the NBA?
There are so many questions in the middle of the summer and it’s understandable. The Sixers fans on vacation will have the same questions as the season unfolds. The last four seasons – and only 75 victories – have only led to skepticism.
The good news is this: Simmons and Fultz are both incredibly talented. Both are top picks. Both have unlimited potential.
It’s up to Brown to unlock that potential. If they both exceed expectations, the franchise will reap the benefits.
We shall see.