We finally have some Philadelphia 76ers basketball to watch and it didn’t disappoint.
The Sixers defeated the Guangzhou Loong Lions 144-86 in the preseason opener at the Wells Fargo Center. Due to the size and talent disparity between the two teams not much can be taken away from what happened on the court that’s noteworthy or important.
Certain things can’t be learned until they face other NBA teams in games that mean something. But this game gave us a first glance at what the rotation may look like once the season starts on Oct. 23 against the Boston Celtics.
Oh, and we were all treated to a Ben Simmons three-point shot at the end of the first half.
The shot heard around the world
It finally happened folks.
Ben Simmons showed off the jump shot he worked on during the offseason. With time running down in the first half, Simmons was given space at the three-point line.
Instead of passing the ball or driving to the basket, he looked around at his teammates before causally stepping into a three-pointer. After making the shot, Simmons acted like it was no big deal. Meanwhile, Joel Embiid and the fans all went crazy.
for three. pic.twitter.com/BAHKl9CYXP
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 9, 2019
His teammate Tobias Harris had some fun with the sequence after the game.
“He’s one of the best shooters in the history of basketball,” Harris said about Ben Simmons via Kyle Neubeck. “100 percent from three, so I don’t want to hear nothin.”
Hopefully, this is the first step in his development as a shooter.
Thybulle gets some early action
Forwards Matisse Thybulle and James Ennis III were the first subs off the bench five minutes into the first quarter. Thybulle certainly didn’t disappoint and looked poised to play a key role off the bench.
On offense, he found open space on the wings for open three-point shots and cut to the basket for easy dunks. Defensively, he looked even better causing deflections and blocking shots. He was all over the court and made himself known.
“I just wanted to feel like I belonged out there and I was able to feel that,” Thybulle said via Serena Winters of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Perhaps the only way Thybulle struggles to get minutes is if he gets in early foul trouble. Just two minutes into the second quarter, he picked up his third foul. As he gains experience, he’ll hopefully learn to pick and choose when to be aggressive.
Very early on it seems like he has the edge over Zhaire Smith for minutes. Smith only appeared in the second half and didn’t play with any starters. That’s not a good sign for Smith who may have to play exceedingly well this preseason to earn some playing time in the rotation.
Burke over Neto
Trey Burke came into the game with four minutes left in the first quarter when Simmons went to the bench. Burke appears to have the early edge over Raul Neto for the backup point guard spot. Neto only appeared in the second half.
Furkan Korkmaz, Jonah Bolden, Shake Milton, and Marial Shayok all appeared only in the second half. It’s unlikely any of them will make an impact on the team this season and will face an uphill battle to get minutes.
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