The Philadelphia 76ers are back at the Wells Fargo Center tonight for preseason action against the Detroit Pistons. According to Serena Winters of NBC Sports, Ben Simmons, Al Horford and James Ennis III are all out for tonight’s matchup:
Both James Ennis (right calf strain) and Ben Simmons (back tightness) will sit out tomorrow nights preseason game vs. Detroit (precautionary).— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) October 14, 2019
Al Horford (rest) also out. #Sixers
At age 33 and with a recent history of knee issues, the Sixers may want to come up with a load management plan for Horford in addition to Joel Embiid to ensure their two best front court players are healthy all season long and into the playoffs. Giving Horford the night off, albeit in preseason, may be an indication that the Sixers plan to do exactly that.
As for Ennis and Simmons, I would imagine they’re playing tonight if it’s game one of the Eastern Conference semifinals, but we’re talking about the Sixers’ fourth preseason game, and third in the last five days — there’s no point in playing with some discomfort and taking the risk of making a minor injury worse.
With the three players out, the Sixers will need to replace two starting spots and about 12 to 15 minutes of bench play. I’m not going to take a guess at who might start, because Shake Milton’s start against the Hornets in place of Joel Embiid was not at the top of my list of possibilities. But who I’d like to see start? I’d be interested to see Tobias Harris slide up to the four and Matisse Thybulle inserted at the three, and Raul Neto starting at point guard. Thybulle has simply earned it and I want to see more out of Neto — I haven’t gotten a good feel for what he brings this team.