So far, so good for the new-look Philadelphia 76ers, who moved to 3-0 in preseason play Sunday evening with a 126-94 win over the Orlando Magic. Tonight, the Sixers will take on the Detroit Pistons in their penultimate exhibition warm-up.
The Pistons are somewhat mired in a similar treadmill of mediocrity to the one Sam Hinkie determined the Sixers needed to escape a few years back. Detroit finished an even 41-41 last season, squeaking into the playoffs as the eighth seed and getting easily dispatched by the Bucks in the first round. That modest level of success came from continued growth on the perimeter and a return to the All-Star game for Blake Griffin, who torched the Sixers with a 50-point explosion last October.
Still, now 30 years old, it’s hard to see Griffin making yet another leap, and the rest of the Pistons’ roster doesn’t scream much more than first-round fodder. This past offseason, Detroit signed Derrick Rose and Markieff Morris, and traded for Tony Snell — solid moves, but not ones that move the needle in the Eastern Conference hierarchy.
The Sixers won’t be at full strength for tonight’s exhibition tilt, however:
James Ennis (right calf strain) and Ben Simmons (back tightness) will not play tomorrow for #Sixers tomorrow, precautionary only.— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) October 14, 2019
Al Horford (rest) will also be out as part of individual plan.
Those three players sitting will give Brett Brown extended looks at his wonderful new roster depth. It’s interesting to note that Horford has an individual plan. A lot has been made about Joel Embiid’s need for rest days throughout the season, but Horford is 33 years old, and should ideally be managed as well. The Sixers will want both of their large defensive anchors at full strength come late April.
Delightfully, with the Sixers’ return home, fans will be able to watch the game on a feed that doesn’t give you motion sickness from a weird angle under the basket. It will be good to hear Zu, Alaa, and company, while viewing NBA action from a steady, mid-court angle. Philadelphia fans wanted to see their favorite team and Eastern Conference co-favorite in action...who knew?
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Detroit Pistons (preseason)
When: 7:00 pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus, NBA TV
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic