The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Tom Petty once told us that “the waiting is the hardest part”; for Sixers fans, this is especially true.  The tide has turned and the team has started to gel behind the efforts of one Joel Hans Embiid, but one piece still is at large – an Australian prodigy by way of Louisiana State University.  When will Ben Simmons make his debut?

ben-simmons

I’ll be honest – at times, I’ve been so lost in the Sixers recent success that I’ve forgotten about Ben Simmons.  The Sixers have won almost as many games in the last three months than they have in the past two seasons.  How could we possibly expect to perform even better than we are currently?  By adding the most talented player in the 2016 NBA Draft into the mix.  Ben Simmons is a game-changer in the mold of LeBron James; a point-forward that will cause opposing defenses to pick their poison on a nightly basis.  I don’t expect as quick of a rise as Embiid, but Ben Simmons will be a mismatch from day one.  But when will day one be?  Sixers President Bryan Colangelo stated on Saturday night that Simmons would undergo a final scan on his foot to ensure the healing was coming along as hoped.  All reports have confirmed a seemingly-successful scan and we can now safely turn our gaze towards the Sixers schedule.  Here are my most-likely debut dates, starting with the least likely.

 

Assumptions

  • Home game
    • As Samwise the Brave once said “Scott will ably and efficiently separate the good people of the Delaware Valley from their wallets on your behalf.”  If you don’t think Scott O’Neil and Co. aren’t going to market the shit out of this, you should be committed.
  • Post All-Star Game (February 19th)
    • No point in rushing.  Brown can use the break to get Simmons up to speed and acclimated to the system.
  • Prime-time
    • See my first point.  This won’t be a 1 PM Sunday game or a 6 PM Saturday game on TCN.
  • Not the second half of a back-to-back
    • Joel and Ben are not just teammates and friends, they’re the focal point of a sleeping giant.  They’ll be on the court together for this.
  • Not against the Warriors
    • The Sixers play the Warriors in what should be must-watch basketball.  But the Corleones Colangelos will not want their shiny new lieutenant to lose by 40 points in his debut.  Vito Jerry will not allow his consigliere son to unveil his prize in this game.  It could quickly turn into a Sonny/toll booth scene.
  • Returns this season
    • I’m assuming he’ll play this season.  Barring a setback or an 11th-hour #WojBomb, I think it’s safe to say he’ll play this season.  But there’s always a chance…

Dates

#3 – Friday, March 17th – Dallas Mavericks

This is admittedly a long time to wait, but I wouldn’t rule it out.  It’s the first game after a grueling four-game road trip along the coast and would be a good way to re-inject some life into a young team coming off a game against the Warriors.

#2 – Friday, March 3rd – New York Knicks

I hate the Knicks.  I hate Phil Jackson.  I hate Porzingis and his stupid undershirts (be a man).  I hate Derrick Rose.  I would love for this to be a booming rivalry, but I know the Knicks will mess it up.  That being said, for whatever reason, they’re still a big draw whenever they come to town.  But because of that, I can’t make this #1.  This game will sell on its own.  Why not find a game that needs a pinch of flavor?  Which leads me to…

#1 – Friday, February 24th – Washington Wizards

Ah, yes.  The lowly Wizards.  The perfect adversary.  This game checks all of the boxes.  Fresh off the break, the Sixers can start off their playoff-push (!!!) with a new brand of basketball.  The Wizards are talented but inconsistent, struggling to maintain relevance in the East.  They surprisingly match-up well defensively with the Sixers, with Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre Jr. able to match Simmons at the four.  But no one is going remember the box-score; they are going to remember the moment when two of our greats took the floor together for the first time.  Buy your tickets now before the prices skyrocket!

 

(Sons of Saxer will NOT be issuing refunds for any purchased tickets based on this article)

 

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