Game Preview: 76ers vs Celtics
Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics: July 4, 7 p.m. (eastern)
How to Watch: The Comcast Network, NBA TV
How to Listen: Sixers.com's Live Summer League Audio Stream
The historic rivalry between the 76ers and the Celtics will be re-visited, as Philadelphia tips off its Summer League play against Boston.
The two Atlantic Division foes will clash at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Utah. It will be the first of three games for each squad, as each team will also play the Spurs and the Jazz.
Philadelphia has a plethora of new faces, and it will certainly be interesting to see the Sixers back in action for the first time since April.
New Faces and Returning Names
A year after Jahlil Okafor made his regular-season debut against the Celtics, former LSU forward Ben Simmons will play his first game against the same team.
The level of excitement surrounding Simmons, the top pick in last month's Draft, is understandable.
Simmons’ point-forward skills will be on display in his first taste of professional basketball. Since he’s the first No. 1 pick the Sixers have had since Allen Iverson, the hype surrounding him is expected.
Simmons isn’t the only new member of the 76ers eager to hit the ground running. French-native Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, whom the Sixers selected with the 24th overall pick, figures to provide some of his signature energy during the team’s Summer League contests.
Unlike Simmons, TLC has professional experience, as he was a member of KK Mega Vizura for the past two years. It was overseas where “The French Touch” Luwawu honed his skills, developing an exciting offensive repertoire, featuring elite leaping ability and a silky-smooth 3-point stroke.
Joining the Sixers’ top draft picks are Bryon Allen (guard), Javon McCrea (power forward/center), Alex Caruso (guard), Maodo Lo (guard), James Webb III (forward), James Nunnally (forward), Kwame Vaughn (guard), Levi Randolph (guard), Shawn Long (forward) and Tomasz Gielo (forward).
Every player listed above is an undrafted rookie, except for Nunnally, who appeared in 13 games during the 2013-14 season.
After an impressive rookie year, T.J. McConnell is one of a few familiar faces returning to Philadelphia’s Summer League team. McConnell earned significant playing time as a rookie by displaying tenacity and desire, and his efforts netted him some All-Rookie Team attention.
Big man Richaun Holmes looks to build on his promising rookie season, in which he shot above 50 percent from the field. Holmes flashed his potential and was able to craft a role for himself in the rotation.
Rounding out the group of returning Sixers is Christian Wood, the 6’11” tall big man from UNLV who appeared in 17 games for the Sixers last year.
Key Matchup to Watch
Mere minutes after the Sixers made LSU forward Ben Simmons the top pick in the draft, the Boston Celtics selected Cal’s Jaylen Brown. As fellow top-three picks, Simmons and Brown will be share a connection for the foreseeable future.
Boston and Philadelphia fans are likely eager to see what Simmons and Brown have to offer.
Although it’s unclear exactly how frequently Simmons and Brown will be guarding each other, there’s no question both rookies will see each other over the course of the game. Both players are immensely talented, and watching them square off will be a compelling storyline to follow.
While both players are highly-touted rookies, the spotlight is far from foreign to them. Simmons was the centerpiece for the LSU Tigers a year ago, and Brown was an integral part of the Golden Bears’ team.
Top picks squaring off is always exciting -- remember when Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis went head to head in Vegas a year ago? Last year’s summer league game was an exciting contest, so it will definitely be worth keeping an eye on the Simmons vs. Brown matchup.
Quote of the Day: Rookie Ben Simmons
“It’s amazing,” Simmons said after his first pro practice, when asked what it feels like to get started. “It feels so good to be part of a team, and just being on the court. It’s the first time I’ve played since my final game at LSU. So I’m a little rusty, a few turnovers, but it’s all part of it.”