The Philadephia 76ers have a dark cloud hanging around their franchise right now as they head into their season opener on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans on the road.
That cloud got a little bit darker as the Ben Simmons saga continued at practice on Tuesday. The Sixers tossed Simmons from practice for not participating in a drill and he will now be suspended a game for what the team is calling conduct detrimental to the team.
As the Sixers continue to focus on the Pelicans, the focus from the outside is what is going on with Simmons. Philadelphia is looking to move on, but with Simmons being thrown out of practice, they now have to answer for their embattled teammate.
“I’m a professional at the end of the day,” said Andre Drummond. “You see crazy things all the time throughout the year. So for me, I’m just here to work with the guys that are here now.”
Drummond is one of the new guys to be added to this roster and he is now walking into something of a circus in Philadelphia. The Simmons story has dominated all the headlines and he does not even know the whole story.
“I’m just here to worry about the guys that are here now,” he added. “That’s all I can control. Personally, I have no feelings for the situation I just got here. So I don’t really know the in-depth situation that’s going on. So I’m just here to play to the best of my ability and work with the guys that are here now.”
Seth Curry, who has maintained that he just wants to focus on basketball, did not even notice what was going on with Simmons.
“I was locked into practice,” he explained. “I didn’t see what he went on. Maybe I’ll hear from Doc (Rivers) on what happened or whatever, but I didn’t see much.”
At this point, the Sixers have no choice but to focus on themselves and focus on basketball. The Simmons situation will always be there and it will follow them for as long as this thing continues on, but they do know that he won’t be playing and that’s all that matters right now.
“You focus on the things you can focus on,” Curry added. “There’s always distractions throughout the season whether it’s injuries and stuff that people have stuff going on in their personal lives off the floor. Once you step on the floor, you have to focus on getting better every day and preparing for the game. This is really no different to me.”
On the flip side, this situation is somewhat predictable. Simmons obviously does not want to be here and he is letting the team know that. Now frustrations are beginning to boil over.
“I don’t think anybody knew what was gonna happen,” Drummond finished. “I think we’re just here to play and work hard and he’s obviously welcomed back wherever he wants to come back. Nobody has any animosity towards him. We all want him here so when he’s ready, we’re here for him.”
The Sixers take on the Pelicans at 8 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.
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