Simmons to make NBA debut in Washington

Ben Simmons will be thrust into the NBA limelight on night two of the upcoming season, with the Australian to make his Philadelphia debut in Washington against the Wizards.

The 76ers will kick off their campaign on October 18, with the 2016 No.1 draft pick set to make his belated NBA debut after injury ruined his first year in the league.

Simmons and the 76ers have also been slated to play one of the NBA’s marquee Christmas Day games – against New York at Madison Square Garden – their first appearance as part of the holiday extravaganza since 2001.

The 213cm-Simmons is among the favourites to win the NBA’s rookie of the year – along with new teammate and 2017 No.1 pick Markelle Fultz.

The highly anticipated debuts of Chris Paul with the Houston Rockets and Gordon Hayward with the Boston Celtics highlight the opening night of the regular season on October 17.

Paul and the Rockets will visit the Golden State Warriors as the second part of a double-header.

Paul, a nine-time All-Star point guard, spent the past six seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, while the Warriors will be receiving NBA championship rings for the second time in the past three seasons.

In the opener, Hayward and the Celtics will visit the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals.

Hayward joined Boston as a free agent during the summer after seven seasons with the Utah Jazz, including making his first All-Star appearance last season.

Cleveland once again will have LeBron James on the floor but the status of guard Kyrie Irving remains unclear after he asked to be traded.

The remainder of the NBA schedule will be announced next week.

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