The curse with Philadelphia’s first round picks continues after #1 overall pick Ben Simmons fractured his right foot with no timetable to return. Simmons suffered a fracture of the fith metatarsal bone after rolling his ankle in practice. The former LSU star is set to miss the start of the NBA season, with the shortest recovery time for this injury being around 6-8 weeks, but this will depend on what treatment is received for the fracture. This injury is also known as the Jones Fracture, which is what Kevin Durant had a couple of years back following his MVP season, causing him to have multiple surgeries and miss a lot of time. Sixers fans will be hoping Simmons doesn’t receive the same fate as KD back in 2014.
This news couldn’t have come at a worse time for Sixers fans, with pre-season looming as well as the start of the NBA season. With 2014 first round pick Joel Embiid set to finally debut after suffering injury setbacks, the 76ers were excited about the prospect of having 4 first-round big men all being able to play together. However, Simmons’ injury puts a halt to his development and his promising off-season, in which he apparently put on over 30 pounds of muscle. Tim Grover believes the added muscle was a factor towards Simmons’ foot injury:
If Simmons misses time, it wouldn’t be the first time a Philadelphia first-round pick has not played straight away. Joel Embiid has not played in his first two seasons in the NBA, while 2013 pick Nerlens Noel did not play in the year he was drafted due to a knee injury suffered at Kentucky. Since 2004, only two Sixers rookies have played in at least 70 games in their rookie season: Michael Carter-Williams in 2013-14 and Noel in 2014-15, once he recovered from his injury.
So what is the raw impact of Simmons missing time? Simmons was set to be a focal point of the Sixers’ offense, who would help out in transition scoring and scoring in the point. But the pressure will be back on Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel and the debuting Joel Embiid and Dario Saric to deliver. It’s a setback for a franchise that was set to unleash their young stars and could leave them battling with Brooklyn as the worst team in the NBA. There is also more reliance on the Sixers’ point guards to lead the team now that Simmon’s playmaking ability is absent. A positive outlook for the team is that there will be more focus on the development of Joel Embiid and Dario Saric and it eases the logjam of the frontcourt that came into question heading into the season. However, this is only a temporary solution. It’s still unknown how long Simmons is out for or even if he will play this season, but if he decides to make a comeback this season, it would impact the frontcourt rotation.
Philadelphia sports fans will be hoping that Simmons turns out like their football equivalent Carson Wentz, who has led the Eagles to a 3-0 start, despite suffering a rib injury in the pre-season, rather than NFL#1 pick Jared Goff, who is yet to see time on the field. If Simmons doesn’t play in the opener, it will be the first time since 2007 that the NBA and NFL #1 overall picks have missed the start of the season (Greg Oden and JaMarcus Russell).