Ben Simmons Should Start When He Returns

Philadelphia 76ers fans have reason to be optimistic Ben Simmons will play this season, and when he does, he should start immediately.

When Philadelphia 76ers top overall pick Ben Simmons went down with his foot injury before the season started, many fans were crushed. Simmons’ broken metatarsal required surgery and it wasn’t clear whether or not he would actually play in a game this season. Many fans were excited to see the team’s two players with the most upside, Simmons and Joel Embiid, both make their NBA debuts.

If Simmons’ surgery would have kept him out the entire season, which it appears it won’t, it wouldn’t be anything new to Sixers fans. Nerlens Noel missed an entire season after his career at Kentucky was cut short by an ACL injury. And we all know how long we had to wait to see Embiid play after he was drafted.

Simmons is out of his walking boot and he has been spotted walking around the Sixers’ practice facility, but he hasn’t taken part in any contact drills. Going off of that information, it’s hard to imagine him returning by the end of January like many fans predicted (and more or less wished for). It’s more realistic to imagine Simmons making his debut after the All-Star break, and likely in a minutes restrictions similar to Embiid’s at the beginning of this season.

When Simmons does return, what kind of role will he have on this team? Will he start or come off the bench? Will he play point guard or will he serve more of a point-forward role?

These questions will all be predetermined by Bryan Colangelo and Brett Brown before Simmons steps on the court, but let’s try to see how he fits best.

First off, if anyone saw Simmons play in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, they would have seen the natural talent and basketball I.Q. he already has. Simmons dazzled over the summer with several highlight reel passes in which he showed off his already incredible court vision.

Simmons may already have the highest basketball I.Q. on the roster, despite not stepping on an NBA court yet. The Sixers currently rank second-to-last in turnovers per game as a team, and Simmons’ court presence could definitely help the Sixers in that respect.

Brown has already said that he plans to use Simmons as the team’s primary point guard when he returns, and unless the team adds another point guard by the trade deadline, then it seems likely that he will indeed be the team’s primary ball handler.

When he does in fact return, and no matter where he plays on the court, Simmons deserves to be in the starting lineup.

Other than Embiid, Simmons has the most potential to be a building block for this franchise, and he deserves the opportunity to be in the starting lineup and getting his fair share of minutes.

Many people were hesitant to say Embiid deserved to start right away due to his injury history, but Brown and the Sixers showed they want the best basketball players in the starting lineup. Simmons is unquestionably one of the better players on the roster.

The Sixers will definitely side with caution when getting Simmons back on the court, but that doesn’t mean he should have to come off the bench when he’s able to play. He deserves to be in the starting lineup, and deserves the chance to show that he is going to be one of the focal points of the team’s future.

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