Atlantic Notes: Simmons, McCullough, Noah

The Sixers are still coming to terms with the injury to No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons, who is expected to undergo surgery in the near future due to a broken foot he suffered during practice last week, Aaron Carter of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Dealing with injuries is nothing new to the team as of late, coach Brett Brown noted. “There is nobody, sadly, that’s had more experience dealing with injured draft picks than we have,” Brown said. “So over the course of time, you learn how to best deal with it. There needs to be, there has been, and we’ll get better this time, a holistic approach to the person. There needs to be understanding that there’s an opportunity to educate [Simmons] in the film room, watching different NBA players and teaching him. There might be an opportunity where we sit him in a chair and remake his shot, rebuild his shot, and really spend time with the fundamentals of his shot.

The loss of Simmons will open up a larger opportunity for rookie forward Dario Saric, Carter adds. “That’s where my head goes to first,” Brown said. “Dario will have more opportunities, responsibilities. I think how we rotate this group now will change. We will learn a lot. The preseason’s really going to be good for us in that regard.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Nets need to replace Thaddeus Young, who was the starter at power forward last season, and if he has a solid preseason, it may be with 2015 first-rounder Chris McCullough, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily notes. “That’s a spot that’s open,” coach Kenny Atkinson said of the four spot, adding that the Brooklyn has ‘versatile bigs’ in guys like McCullough, Luis Scola, Justin Hamilton and Anthony Bennett. McCullough, 21, only appeared in 24 games in 2015/16, missing the beginning of the season as he recovered from a torn Achilles he suffered in college.
  • Knicks center Joakim Noah is nursing a minor hamstring injury and is likely to sit out Tuesday’s preseason opener against the Celtics as a precautionary measure, Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News relays. The big man did not practice today as a result of the malady, the scribe adds.
  • Shooting guard Avery Bradley wants to be known as the best defender in the NBA and understands that for him to garner that honor, his Celtics teammates will also have to up their play on the defensive end, A. Sherrod Blakely of relays.

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