Atlantic Ratings: Sixers, Vonleh, Simmons, Irving

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October 20, 2022 at 5:41 p.m. CST by Dana Gauruder

The Sixers lost to the Celtics in their first game, but they see a long playoff streak in their future, writes ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. They believe they have more talent around the superstar Joel Embid than ever, due to front office moves this offseason.

“There are no weak links around the horn,” said P.J. Tuckerthe team’s best free agent acquisition. “You want [pick on] somebody? To chase. We have everyone.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Due to Robert Williams‘knee problems, Noah Vonleh became a key member of the Celtics frontcourt for the moment. As Jay King of The Athletic notes, Vonleh is only six months away from a trip to China. The opportunity to play in the NBA again made Vonleh more grateful for his current status. “It made me even hungrier” he said. “I feel like I have a pretty good work ethic, but coming out of there I was just wondering why and questioning some things. But it just made me more motivated and made me work much harder. Vonleh has a minimum one-year contract with Boston.
  • The statistics line for Ben Simmons in his return to action after an off season was unimpressive. He posted four points, five rebounds and five assists before committing a foul in 23 minutes. Coach Steve Nash attributes this performance to the long layoff, ESPN’s Nick Friedell tweet. “I just think he’s rusty. The guy hasn’t played for over a year. Nash said. “He’s still getting used to the referees, the defence, the attack. It’s a process for Ben… He’s obviously shown glimpses of the player we know he is and can be, but this is not easy. We are here to support him.”
  • Kevin DurantThe exchange request from during the summer turned out to be a test and Kyrie Irving believe it Nets are better for it, as he told Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. “When Kev made that request, I feel like we got better,” said Irving. “Then. Not initially, but now where we are, I feel like we can honestly say we’ve improved, with the principles necessary for success. Without going through testing in the summer or during the season, we wouldn’t be able to be as close and connected as we are now.

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