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Sixers' Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson developing backcourt chemistry

Marc Narducci, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Basketball

The 76ers are blending many new parts as they attempt to live up to their billing as one of the Eastern Conference's top teams, and one area that is showing some good chemistry is the starting backcourt.

Point guard Ben Simmons, now in his third season, appears to have taken more of a leadership role and he has developed a rapport with Josh Richardson, a fifth-year shooting guard who arrived from Miami in the Jimmy Butler deal.

NBA teams will be hard-pressed to find a bigger backcourt.

All NBA players were recently measured without shoes; Simmons came in at 6-foot-9 1/2 and Richardson at 6-5.

What makes this duo even more impressive is the way both are committed to playing defense. Simmons said the day before training camp that he wanted to be the best defensive player on his team, which will be saying something because Richardson can really put the clamps on opposing offensive players.

76ers guard Josh Richardson laughs during practice at the 76ers Training Complex on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019.

 

Together, they make a formidable defensive backcourt.

"I think it (the chemistry) will grow offensively, and I do see signs," coach Brett Brown said after Wednesday's practice. "But as it sits, I do get so excited about what I see with those two guys just stalking opposition backcourts. Their length, their spirit, their desire to play defense is beyond exciting."

Simmons has certainly enjoyed the pairing.

"I love playing with him," Simmons said after Tuesday's 144-86 win over Guangzhou in the Sixers' first preseason game. "Off the court, he's a great person, and on it, he's a dog. Defensively he's amazing, and offensively he's athletic and knocking down shots."

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