The Philadelphia 76ers’ 2019-20 season was pretty chaotic before Rudy Gobert’s positive COVID-19 test forced the NBA to suspend play. The Sixers were 29-2 at home but just 10-24 on the road. As a result, the team was only in sixth place in the Eastern Conference despite having three All-Stars on the squad in Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Al Horford.
Embiid, Horford and Tobias Harris were all booed at least once at home this season. Philadelphia fans know how much potential the Sixers have and they will always let their players know if they are not performing well.
Nobody wanted the NBA to go on a hiatus. However, the time off was beneficial for three Sixers players.
3. Ben Simmons
Due to his pre-existing lower back nerve impingement, Ben Simmons had access to Philly’s practice facility during the hiatus. Sixers head coach Brett Brown said that Simmons “has been outstanding” in rehabbing his injury.
The time off must have been great for Simmons to rest and strengthen his back. The Sixers will need their floor general to be at 100 percent once the 2020 postseason starts if the team has championships aspirations.
Prior to the season getting suspended, Simmons was averaging 16.7 points, 7.8 boards and 8.2 assists in 54 games.
2. Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid said he’s been training “about six times a week” for the past month. Embiid’s health is critical for the Sixers’ postseason aspirations, so he definitely benefited from the extended rest during this hiatus.
After all, Embiid is prone to injuries, so any rest JoJo can get on his massive body is important. The Sixers are only going to win the 2020 title if Embiid plays like the best big man in the NBA.
Joel is averaging 23.4 points and 11.8 rebounds on the season.
1. Josh Richardson
Simmons and Josh Richardson are the Sixers’ two best perimeter defenders. Odds are Philly is going to need Richardson to play a lot of minutes in the playoffs since he’s such a sound 3&D guy.
With that said, Richardson probably got a ton of rest during the hiatus, which will come in handy in the postseason since the 6-foot-5 guard may have more stamina.
In his first season with the Sixers, Richardson is averaging 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 32.7 percent from beyond the arc.