Sixers focus now shifts to reintegrating Ben Simmons with the team

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The Philadelphia 76ers have been locked in a soap opera with 25-year old 3-time All-Star Ben Simmons as the embattled star looks to force his way out of Philadelphia. The disgruntled guard wants to be traded and he was in a holdout before ending that and showing up to work in Philadelphia.

After clearing the NBA’s COVID protocols, Simmons was able to rejoin the team on Sunday at practice as they prepare for the 2021-22 season opener on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans. After working through some inevitable awkwardness, the Sixers now have to focus on reintegrating him with the team and the system.

“It was cool,” said Tobias Harris of Simmons. “He was out there so, for the group, it’s for us just continue on. Integrate him into all things we’re doing and be supportive and be there and keep it pushing. That’s it.”

As far as Simmons working his way back, Philadelphia did not scrimmage too much at practice. A lot of it was just working his way back into things and continuing to grow as a team. Combined with Simmons being out, the team is dealing with a lot of injuries to other players.

“We did some, not a lot,” said coach Doc Rivers. “We did more scheme stuff because a lot of guys have missed stuff so honestly, including Ben, Tobias, Matisse (Thybulle) had have been playing the last week, it would have been a lot of scrimmaging. As a staff, we decided we need to kind of get back to our rhythm and our execution first, tomorrow (Monday) will be a lot of scrimmaging.”

On the flip side, it’s not like Simmons has not played with a majority of this roster. While they may have tweaked some things to their style of play, it should not be too hard to get him back on board with everything and on the same page.

“It’s hard to say, he just got back today,” said Furkan Korkmaz. “Of course, we’ll probably have to adjust some stuff, defensively, offensively, but we know Ben. I don’t think we should be taking it another way because we’ve been around him a lot. He’s been around here a lot. I don’t think there should be a big, big change or adjustment.”

Another thing to consider is that Simmons may not even be in game shape yet. So Philadelphia will have time to ease him into things and be able to get him back should he play in any games. As far as the reception he gets from the Philadelphia crowd, Rivers is not concerned about any of that. The focus remains the same.

“Right now, I’m just thinking about getting him back comfortable and integrated,” he explained. “I’m not even thinking about that. That will come at some point, but there’s no game plan there I’ll tell you that.”

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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