Sixers: 5 most compelling games on 2022-23 schedule

Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) /
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Sixers schedule — vs. Brooklyn Nets, Nov. 22

In theory, this will mark Ben Simmons’ on-court return to Philadelphia. The Nets have a lot to sort out right now — Kevin Durant’s trade request, Kyrie Irving’s tenuous future, the lingering uncertainty around Simmons — but this is an obvious game to bookmark. The atmosphere, if Simmons is actually on the court, will be otherworldly. Philly fans are always loud, but Simmons would elevate the volume and energy to another level entirely.

It’s unclear just how much of a threat Brooklyn will pose in the Eastern Conference this season. If Durant sticks around and Simmons returns to form, then the Nets could feasibly win the conference. If Durant gets traded for a mountain of riches, the Nets could still have the firepower to compete. But with so much negative energy around the franchise and so much up in the air, it’s hard to project Brooklyn’s season with any real confidence.

Let’s assume Simmons does in fact play in this game. How does he handle the pressure of Philadelphia’s crowd? Does he come out inspired, with a chip on his shoulder, or does he shy away from the spotlight? We have seen shades of both from Simmons in the past. When he wants to make a statement, he can drop 42 points on Rudy Gobert. But, we’ve also seen Simmons crumble under pressure. It would be a real milestone moment in the former No. 1 pick’s career.

There’s always a chance Simmons doesn’t play for one reason or another. There’s a decent chance Durant and maybe even Irving are no longer on the team, and we’re in fact looking at a roster tailored around Simmons. There are multiple variables at play, but yes, the Sixers host the Nets in November. Mark it on the calendars.