PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia 76ers will return to game action at the end of the month to finish out the regular NBA season before heading straight to the postseason. Sixers head coach Brett Brown says the players have a lot on their minds as you might imagine.
We are exactly one month away from the Sixers hitting the floor in a regular-season basketball game. On Aug. 1, they’ll take on the Indiana Pacers as part of their eight-game schedule before the playoffs.
But Brown says there is a bit of anxiety heading into the Orlando bubble.
“It’s real for everybody, how can it not be?” Brown said. “To feel like everybody is not feeling some level of anxiety, whatever the level might be, would be recklessly naive.”
While Brown has been hard at work with his coaches via Zoom preparing for the restart, his conversations with players have been different.
“My last Zoom calls with my team have had about 1% basketball and 99% of all the racial injustice circumstances we’re all living and breathing now, that’s on my mind,” Brown said. “Going into Orlando and leaving your family for a few months, that’s on my mind. How safe do you feel? That’s on my mind. Do you really want to be there? Let’s just go there, do you really want to be there? Are you secure, are you safe, are you comfortable getting on a plane and going into this environment?”
When they do hit the floor, Brown says there will be no limitations on Ben Simmons, who dealt with a back injury beginning in February.
“He’s good to go and he’s put in a tremendous amount of work for me to confidently be able to say that,” Brown said. “I think when you search for silver linings with this pandemic and the way things have shaped up, it would be hardpressed for me to find something more obvious than this. It’s allowed Ben to reclaim his health.”
Brown says Joel Embiid has put in a ton of work and is prepared for the upcoming grind.
The coach says despite the issues facing society, there’s an eagerness to get basketball back.
“I’m going to Orlando just certainly mindful of all the things that we’ve spoken about with what’s really going on in the world, what’s really going on with the health climate we’re in,” Brown said. “And amongst all that, an excitement to restart, to reload. I feel like we have as good a chance as any and I am completely looking at this as a fresh start.”