Philadelphia 76ers' head coach Brett Brown held his yearly pre-season luncheon with the media yesterday. The invitation for the Liberty Ballers crew must have been lost in the DMs, but that didn't stop us from combing our Twitter feed to bring you the important takeaways from yesterday's meeting:
Joel Embiid still hasn't been cleared to play 5-on-5 yet
Here's what we know: Embiid underwent a procedure (which the Sixers referred to at the time as "minor arthroscopic surgery") on his left meniscus on March 24. Three weeks after the operation, Embiid told ESPN that the injury wasn't as bad as he and the team previously thought:
"I feel very lucky," Embiid said in his first public comments since his operation to repair a meniscus tear. "When I went into that surgery, I went in thinking I was going to have a six-month recovery. That's what they told me: six months or more. I'm thinking, 'No, not again.'
"When they did the MRI [before the surgery], it looked like my meniscus was fully torn. But when they got it in there, they realized that wasn't the case. It really turned out to be nothing, just a small, little thing. So that's very good."
Here we are six months after the surgery, and the Sixers' franchise cornerstone still hasn't been given the green light to go full bore. As it stands today, we're T-27 days away from Opening Night. It's not necessarily a Defcon 5 situation as of yet, it's not all unicorns and rainbows, either.
Sixers' president Bryan Colangelo told the assembled media yesterday that the team is being "hyper-conservative" when it comes to Embiid's recovery, but there's no definitive timetable to speak of.
"It's not about getting ready for the first practice or the first game," said Colangelo. "He will be out there on the first practice and the first game. The question is how much, how little, if [at] all."
Despite Embiid's status, the team continues to discuss a possible contract extension with its oft-injured center.
The Sixers have until October 16 to agree to an extension with Embiid, and a max deal for the 7-footer would be a four-year pact in the $100 million range. Colangelo says that he remains "cautiously optimistic" that an agreement can be reached, but is he willing to hand Embiid $25 million/year despite only seeing him play in 31 games last year?
Ben Simmons has no health restrictions whatsoever and... it sounds like things are going well!
Brown thinks there's a "quiet, sort of assassin" type attitude that Simmons is carrying with him. Knows country, world will be watching.— Brian Seltzer (@brianseltzer) September 20, 2017
Bryan Colangelo says Ben Simmons is playing 5-on-5 and he's "dominating the gym" #sixers.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) September 20, 2017
Brown thinks that Simmons will first be able to have greatest impact defensively.— Brian Seltzer (@brianseltzer) September 20, 2017
Could be "multi-position" elite defender in NBA.
GREEN CHECK. WE LIVE.
The projected starting lineup is the exact same projected starting lineup that we all thought it would be.
NBA 2K18 currently has Dario Saric in the starting lineup. NBA 2K18 is incorrect. When they roll the balls out on the 17th, you (barring a series of unfortunate events) will see a starting 5 of Markelle Fultz, J.J. Redick, Robert Covington, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Simmons will be the primary ball-handler when the Sixers take the ball out of the hoop, and the LSU product will be guarding the 4 spot on the other end of the court.
Brown probable defensive pairings, if season were tomorrow:— Brian Seltzer (@brianseltzer) September 20, 2017
Embiid / 5
Simmons / 4
Covington / best wing
Redick / "someone else"
Fultz / PG
Brown: 'I am' locked in to Simmons playing point guard on offense 'when it's a static situation.' Fultz will handle ball in open court, too.— Tom Moore (@TomMoorePhilly) September 20, 2017
And finally... Brett Brown will give Jahlil Okafor ample opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation. Also, Jahlil Okafor will be dealt as soon as Bryan Colangelo finds a willing trade partner.
We'll let Brett Brown's words speak for themselves...