The Philadelphia 76ers may have won six of their last seven games, but Ben Simmons has warned the rest of the NBA: “We’re just getting better!”
The Sixers are up to third in the East, although still three games back from the rampant Toronto Raptors, having enjoyed an extended run of form since the arrival of Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Butler’s departure from the T-Wolves had long been mooted, but Philly made their move – sending Dario Saric and Robert Covington the other way – and they are reaping the rewards.
Although Butler scored just seven points on Wednesday against the New York Knicks, Joel Embiid weighed in with 26 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in a 117-91 win, with Simmons optimistic that this team will continue to improve.
“Every team and every game is different,” said Simmons, who contributed 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
“We’re just getting better, we’re further along in the season and Jimmy is adapting a lot better. We’re getting our plays defensively and our calls. We’re just staying together as a team.
“We had a tough schedule at the start of the season but now we’ve got our feet under us. We also don’t have as many back-to-backs, so we’ve had a little break which has been good for us.”
Sixers coach Brett Brown also feels there is some depth to the group now, adding: “[The big win] is a good feeling because of the rest.
“The guys that came in held the fort, played organised basketball, competitive basketball. It wasn’t like here comes the bench and there’s a let down. It wasn’t that at all. Those guys played.”