ben simmons
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia fans are rolling out the red carpet for Ben Simmons before the Nets and Sixers play on Thursday night.

Ben Simmons is public enemy No. 1 in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future. He won’t be playing in this Nets-Sixers matchup, but he will be on the bench. Philly fans are already going after the newest Net.

The guy yelling at Simmons is none other than Kyle Pagan of Crossing Broad — Elite Sports NY’s sister site. We appreciate those guys down at Crossing Broad giving Simmons and the Nets a warm welcome to Philly.

Obviously, Philly fans were going to be out and about on the hunt for Simmons. Although he won’t be playing in his “return” to Philly, it’s safe to expect a ton of boos and expletives in Wells Fargo Center.

Nets fans can only hope that Simmons hears the boos and then moves on from whatever it is that’s holding him back from playing. Hopefully, that back issue resolves itself after the plane leaves Pennsylvania.

The Ben Simmons saga is one storyline, but this game is like an onion — there are layers. Brooklyn’s top duo gets to face Joel Embiid and James Harden for the first time. It doesn’t seem like there is bad blood between Harden and his former teammates, namely Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Durant is exactly right. The situation in Brooklyn was unstable when Harden started to force his way out. Durant isn’t wrong about the fact that Harden has never won a championship either.

For what it’s worth, Durant and Irving have appeared in seven finals, winning three championships. Meanwhile, Embiid and Harden have combined for a grand total of one.

Even if Philly is ready to crown the Sixers champions, we all know what happens when Harden is in a big spot in the playoffs.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.