Hard as it might be to believe, we are a little over three weeks away from NBA basketball being back. Training camp begins at the end of the month, and the league released the 2021 preseason schedule this afternoon, beginning with the Nets playing the Lakers in Los Angeles on October 3. The Sixers will take the floor one day later, and play four preseason games in total, as follows:
October 4 - Philadelphia @ Toronto - Scotiabank Arena - 7:00 PM ET
October 7 - Toronto @ Philadelphia - Wells Fargo Center - 7:00 PM ET
October 11 - Brooklyn @ Philadelphia - Wells Fargo Center - 8:00 PM (ESPN2)
October 15 - Philadelphia @ Detroit - Little Caesars Arena - 7:00 PM
It’s an intriguing slate, starting with the home-and-home with the Raptors, who have been in the secondary mix as a Ben Simmons suitor this offseason. Imagine the possibility of a deal going down in the next couple weeks and Simmons’ first two (albeit preseason) games coming against his former club. If not, it should still be fun for Masai Ujiri to get a nice, long look at Tyrese Maxey, who he undervalued in Kyle Lowry trade negotiations last season.
Then, the Sixers take on a stacked Brooklyn team in a nationally televised game. Given ESPN’s involvement, I would expect the league to nudge both teams to play their main guys a fair amount, giving fans an early taste of where the Sixers stack up against the odds-on favorite in the Eastern Conference. Finally, a final tune-up is in store against Detroit, where we’ll hopefully catch first overall pick Cade Cunningham.
This summer has been somewhat frustrating for Sixers fans, with the fall-out from the team’s disappointing second-round exit at the hands of the Hawks, to the frustration around the Ben Simmons trade negotiations and lack of clarity as to how that situation will conclude. Moreso than most years, it will be great to return to actual on-court basketball, rather than the off-the-court drama. See you on October 4.