Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Knicks Chemistry, Thibodeau, Tatum

Should disgruntled Sixers point guard Ben Simmons rejoin his Philadelphia teammates without the proper attitude, the feel-good vibes of the team’s 8-6 season start could take a hit, opines Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Simmons has yet to suit up this season, hoping for a trade out of town.

“I don’t think that’s something we thought about yet,” swingman Danny Green said of a potential Simmons-Sixers reunion this year. “We don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon. But it’s something that hasn’t really crossed our minds yet.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • With the Knicks set to play their next three contests at Madison Square Garden, Tommy Beer of Basketball News writes that they have an opportunity to improve the shaky chemistry that has led to the club going 2-4 in its last six games. Starters Julius Randle and RJ Barrett have struggled lately. Beer adds that playing at home will allow for head coach Tom Thibodeau to hold more practices than are possible on the road, which could help the Knicks kick-start their energy.
  • To help improve the on-court performance of the Knicks‘ starting five, head coach Tom Thibodeau opted to give his starters stricter set plays and less improvisational optionality in a productive practice today, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “The first thing you ask [is] are we playing hard enough and executing properly?” Thibodeau said. “If what we’re doing is not good enough, that’s when you change… In all fairness to Julius [Randle] and [starting point guard Kemba Walker], because of who they are, they probably get the brunt of what’s going on. The reality is we have to play well together as a group. It’s not one, two guys. We can say new guys, old guys. We can say first unit, second unit.”
  • Celtics All-Star forward Jayson Tatum is struggling through one of his worst-ever shooting stretches, prompting Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe to consider the possible cause of the issue and potential solutions. Tatum currently has a career-worst shooting line of .388/.322/.742.
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