The Philadelphia 76ers aren’t taking any chances this year. With Joel Embiid giving 76ers fans newfound hope for the future, the management is being extra protective of all of the young players on the team. And yet, Philadelphia manager Bryan Colangelo is optimistic that first round pick Ben Simmons and upcoming star Joel Embiid will play together at some point this season.

It is practically impossible for Simmons to play before the All-Star break, and he may not even be ready right away after the break. For Embiid, the situation is still unclear. What was originally believed to be a bone bruise has now been confirmed to be a meniscus tear, and he has not played in 12 of Philadelphia’s last 13 games. There is not a definitive timetable for his return.

In one year at Louisiana State University, also known as LSU, Simmons averaged 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. His draft stock was expected to plummet after he could not carry his team into the NCAA tournament, but nevertheless he was drafted first overall by the 76ers last year. Many experts compared his body type and the way he plays to LeBron James, although he will likely never be as good as James.

Philadelphia has stated that they will not rush the return of either player. The team has not had even a measly 20 win season since the 2012-2013 season in which they went 34-48. Last year they had the worst record in the NBA, finishing at 10-72. This year has been different. The Sixers already have 20 wins, and they sit at 20-34, and although they almost certainly will not make the playoffs, it is huge improvement. Fans can tell that the future is bright. And because of this improvement, there is no reason to risk ruining a young players’ career just to play a few extra games in a season that most likely will not mean anything.

The Sixers only have their own two picks for the upcoming draft, meaning there won’t be a tremendous influx of young talent like in recent years. Although this is the case, if Philadelphia drafts a young point guard or shooting guard such as Lonzo Ball, they could be one of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference.

Although the Philadelphia 76ers would like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to play together at some point this season, they refuse to rush the process back and risk one of the players getting reinjured.

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