Sixers: 3 things to expect from Ben Simmons’ return to Philadelphia

Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Sixers (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Sixers (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers will host the Brooklyn Nets at 7:30 PM Tuesday night. It will mark Ben Simmons’ long-awaited return to the City of Brotherly Love after his decision to hold out and not play for the team last season. He was, of course, the centerpiece of the James Harden trade.

Very few players in the sweeping history of Philadelphia sports have inspired venom among the fanbase like Simmons. People here genuinely hate him. He’s viewed as a traitor and coward, fair or not — a player who never endeavored to improve and who thought himself bigger and better than the team.

I’m not sure Simmons’ reputation is entirely earned, and I do think more sympathy in the face of legitimate mental health claims would have been ideal. No matter how you view the situation, however, there’s no doubting the hostile environment Simmons will walk into Tuesday evening.

Here are three things to expect from the biggest media spectacle of the young NBA season.

1. The Sixers’ crowd will go bonkers

Simmons was reintroduced to the Nets’ starting lineup over the weekend. Whether he stays there upon Nic Claxton’s return is yet to be seen, but there’s a good chance Simmons’ name is announced over the intercom in the moments leading up to the game. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t expect a loving tribute video or anything of the sort — there’s just no way it lands.

The crowd is going to explode. The Wells Fargo Center might not get this loud again until the playoffs. Even with several key absences titling the game odds heavily in Brooklyn’s favor, it will be a packed house. And every fan will have two goals: will the team to victory, and make Simmons regret ever stepping out of the Sixers’ practice facility in Camden.

One can only hope that the fans remain base-level respectful. A chorus of F-Ben Simmons chants is to be expected, but what can’t happen is something like the Russell Westbrook incident a couple years ago. Keep your popcorn, water, and other projectile objects well in hand. Whatever problems you have with Simmons, he’s a person you’ve never once met in your life. Act accordingly.