The Ben Simmons era in Philadelphia is almost here for the Sixers

The Sixers are almost, finally, whole.

The No. 1 overall pick in last June's NBA draft, point forward Ben Simmons, has begun five-on-zero drills, ESPN reports. Simmons is still not playing in scrimmages, and full cutting drills are still a question mark according to local reports, but it indicates that Simmons is approaching a return from the foot fracture that sidelined his much anticipated season debut back in October.

Simmons is nearing a return at the same time that Philly, after four years of absolute disastrous basketball, is finally coming into form. Joel Embiid is the runaway candidate to win Rookie of the Year right now despite being on a minutes restriction, the Sixers are top 15 in 3-point shooting and top 10 in makes per game, and all they really need is reliable point guard play. Simmons provides a playmaker with size at the 4. While his shooting is an issue, Dario Saric has shown flashes and it enables the Sixers to fill the point guard spot with a pure shooter this season or down the line.

The reality is that the Sixers are going to be an actual NBA team soon. Nerlens Noel has looked better and better as the season has gone on. Jahlil Okafor is borderline unplayable because of defense, but even so Philly is stocked with talent, finally, and Embiid looks like the best player from his draft class, remarkably. The Sixers have been, depending on who you ask, an experiment, a moral quandary, a punchline and a threat to the very nature of competitive sports. But they're almost at full strength, and have won three of their past four games.

There's a good team hidden somewhere inside the Sixers, and eventually it's going to come out and play.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Moore's colleagues have been known to describe him as a "maniac" in terms of his approach to covering the NBA, which he has done for CBS Sports since 2010. Moore prides himself on melding reporting,... Full Bio

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