PHILADELPHIA — Teams typically introduce their entire roster prior to their home opener. But as the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers prepared to tip off at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night, only Philadelphia’s starting five was introduced to the crowd.
While the Sixers haven’t introduced their whole team for years, avoiding doing so this year had an added benefit: It allowed them to avoid either ignoring their star point guard, Ben Simmons, or introducing him in absentia to a chorus of boos.
It was yet another example of the space both Brooklyn and Philadelphia find themselves occupying this season. After they finished with the top two records in the Eastern Conference last season, only to each lose in the second round of the playoffs, they entered this season as the epicenters of NBA news because of the absences of Simmons and Kyrie Irving.While the night ended in dramatic fashion, with Brooklyn storming back from a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes with a 16-1 closing run to claim a 114-109 victory, the fact that no return is in sight for Simmons or Irving continues to hang over both teams. Both teams have plenty of star power remaining and plenty of other questions to answer besides when, or if, their point guards will return to the court.
Here’s a look at four questions with two games down and 80 more to go: