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Ben Simmons on NBA Debut: ‘It felt like I was playing 2K’

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Ben Simmons finally made his long-awaited NBA regular-season debut against the Wizards in Washington on Wednesday night. And after his extended wait to wear the Philadelphia 76ers jersey in a meaningful game, he said he felt initially like he was in a video game.

“It felt like I was playing 2K, honestly,” Simmons said postgame.

“Just looking at Joel Embiid out there with the lights on his jersey. I was like, ‘man, I’m actually here.'”

Simmons was drafted with the first overall pick by the Sixers in the 2016 draft, but he missed the entire 2016-17 season while recovering from foot surgery to repair a Jones fracture. He suffered the injury on Sept. 30, 2016, less than a month before the start of the regular season. The Australian was originally expected to miss three months, but was eventually ruled out for the entire season.

Source: Nick Metallinos of ESPN

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Orlando Magic Ending Orlando Summer League

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The Orlando Magic will not hold their annual summer league in Orlando next year and will participate instead in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, team officials told the Orlando Sentinel.

The decision is a radical departure for the Magic, who ran and managed their own summer league in Central Florida 14 times since 2002.

“The pendulum is swinging toward teams playing in Vegas,” Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said.

“It’s a level of competition and a level of exposure when more or less every team in the league is there and you’re playing in front of 20,000 people as opposed to playing in a gym with a few hundred people. So it better prepares you for what NBA life is really about with the crowds, the pressure, the travel — a lot of what you’re going to have to confront. Obviously, it’s not a true test of an NBA season, but it’s a little taste.”

Twenty-four teams participated in the NBA Summer League this past summer. Each team had three preliminary games followed by a tournament with seedings based on the preliminary games’ results. Teams in Las Vegas played a minimum of five games overall.

Meanwhile, eight teams participated in the Orlando Pro Summer League this year and played five games apiece. In addition to the Magic, the other teams were the Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder.

NBA officials prefer to have all 30 teams participate in the Las Vegas event.

Source: Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

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Zach LaVine to Be Cleared for Contact Practice on Monday

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Plan is for LaVine to visit his doctor in Los Angeles Monday morning and on track to be cleared for contact practice Monday afternoon at UCLA.

Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

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Sources: Patrick Beverley to Return to Clippers Monday

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The LA Clippers, reeling on an eight-game losing streak, are planning for the return of starting point guard Patrick Beverley against the New York Knicks on Monday, league sources told ESPN.

Beverley has missed five straight games with a sore right knee. He has averaged 12.9 points, three assists and three rebounds for the Clippers this season.

Los Angeles has struggled without its opening-night backcourt of Beverley and rookie Milos Teodosic. As Beverley plans his return on Monday, Teodosic’s return is still uncertain. He suffered an injury to his left plantar fascia in October and isn’t expected back in the near future.

The Clippers have won only once since a buzzer-beating victory over Portland on Oct. 29 capped their 4-0 start.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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