East Notes: Nets, Ben Simmons, Sixers, Magic

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Nets

Guard/forward Ben Simmons finally may be feeling comfortable after a back issue that haunted him since the end of last season, his recent comments suggested.

“So far this is the best I’ve felt in terms of moving,” Simmons told reporters after Wednesday’s win over the Raptors. “Obviously it’s a back-to-back too. I think my minutes were supposed to be lower, but I was trying to push myself and I wanted to be out there to help the team win.”

  • Guard/forward T.J. Warren has progressed to participating in 3-on-3 drills at practice, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. He last played in a NBA game in 2020 while still with the Pacers and has been battling a foot issue since.
  • Forward Yuta Watanabe remains out with a hamstring issue and is considered day-to-day. “We’ll reassess him when we get back home,” coach Jacque Vaughn said, via Lewis.
  • Watanable drew high praise from point guard Kyrie Irving. “He’s the best shooter in the world right now,” Irving told reporters. “The stats prove it right now. He’s the best shooter in the best league in the world right now.”

76ers

  • While forward Tobias Harris has had his name mentioned in trade rumors already this season, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported that all is actually quiet on that front.
  • Fischer said as much on his podcast, via HoopsHype. “To be honest, I have not heard his name come up at all,” Fischer said. “And I’ve been calling around the league all week.”
  • Forward/center Montrezl Harrell is clearly happy to serve as the team’s energy man. “That’s the only way I know how to play the game of basketball in general,” Harrell said, via Ky Carlin of USA Today. “Just doing all the dirty work, playing as hard as I can, and just trying to put my team in position to win.”

Magic

  • Rookie center Paolo Banchero (ankle) is set to return Friday vs. the 76ers. Banchero has missed the previous seven games.
  • In 11 games, Banchero is averaging averaging 23.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists. “I’m feeling good,” he said, via Brett Siegel of SI.com. “It was good just to get back.”

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