The Crossover-The struggle with Simmons

Jack Cahill '17, Sports Editor

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It seemed like everything was finally coming together for the Sixers and their fans after three painful seasons. Center Joel Embiid was finally healthy, power forward Dario Saric came over from Croatia, and the Sixers drafted a player whose skill level was in a league of their own, forward Ben Simmons. However, Simmons injured his foot in the preseason, and after rumors of him returning this year, he was ruled out for the entire year. After another injury to another star rookie, should the Sixers and their fans be concerned?

Fans had been hearing about the Australian born rookie since his high school days. He dominated at the high school level and, instead of choosing to attend a traditional high level basketball school, such as Kentucky or Kansas, Simmons chose to play his college ball at LSU, a non-contender. He averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game in college and declared for the NBA after a predicted one year in college.

The Sixers nabbed Simmons with the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft after some consideration of taking Duke forward Brandon Ingram, but Simmons was the clear choice. Sixer fans were elated that Simmons was coming to Philly. His physical build, ability to play any and every position, and sheer potential was unmatched by any player since LeBron James.

This excitement was short lived, however. During training camp, Simmons was diagnosed with a Jones facture. Simmons underwent surgery in October 2016 and was expected to return sometime in December or January. That date was soon pushed back to after the all-star break. Another CT scan revealed Simmons’ foot wasn’t healing as quickly as previously thought, and the Sixers’ staff decided to shut Simmons down for the remainder of his rookie seasons.

This injury isn’t sitting well for many Sixer fans, drawing scary comparisons to the injuries which recently kept Embiid off the court for two years. Although the injuries themselves are different, the circumstances are the same. Fans are starting to lose faith in their young stars when, year after year, they get seriously injured. Since 2013 only two first round draft picks, guard Michael Carter-Williams and center Jahlil Okafor, have played in their rookie seasons, and Okafor was shut down halfway through. Fans thought they were finally done waiting and were eager to take the next step, but the injury to Simmons puts more doubt into “Trust the Process”.

So, where to Sixer fans go from here? Simmons will get healed, and he will be back next season, but the unease rests with uncertainty. As of now, there is no way to 100% know that Simmons will return to his former glory. Sixer fans must trust the doctors’ reports that he will heal completely and quickly, a hard pill to swallow considering the extent of the Embiid injuries. Unfortunately, only time will tell, and Sixer fans and the organization just have to do the only thing they know how to do at this point: wait.

 

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The Crossover-The struggle with Simmons