The Best Thing That Happened This Week: The Kids Are All Right

The Sixers are managing, somehow, to make basketball fun.

Matisse Thybulle and the other lesser-known Sixers have stepped up and held their own while the big names have been sidelined. Photo by All-Pro Reels via CC license

Ben Simmons has always made it hard to love him. Once ranked the number one player in the nation, he’s had a career of more fits than starts. He’s been plagued by inopportune injuries. He gets involved in embarrassing relationships. (So not Philly, yo.) He’s surprisingly reluctant to shoot the ball, considering he’s a professional basketball player. In fact, in all our years of Philly fandom, no player has made us scream at our TVs more than the unfulfilled promise that is Ben Simmons. And now, just as our hopes were blossoming for this weird, truncated NBA season — uh-oh! Another inopportune injury!

But you know what? The scrubs on this team are stepping up like nobody’s business. (Here’s looking at you, Matisse and Norvel and Shake and Alec and Kyle and Raul and Marial and … ) God knows they’re all a lot of fun to watch. They’ve been hanging tough. And the not-so-big-name guys — Tobias and Josh and Mike? They’ve been playing hard, too. So for the first time in a long time, it feels like this is a team worth watching. “It should be a fun series,” Al Horford said of the team’s forthcoming matchup against the Celtics. Indeed it should.