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76ers' Stars Focusing on Improving Rather than Playing in FIBA World Cup

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Two of the Philadelphia 76ers' top players have announced recently that they will forego playing in the FIBA World Cup to continue working on their game in an effort to be ready for the rigors of an 82-game NBA season. 

Tobias Harris, according to The Inquirer's Keith Pompey, will not be participating with USA Basketball in this year's FIBA World Cup. 

This comes just over a week after news broke that Ben Simmons will not be representing Australia in this summer's FIBA World Cup.

"Ultimately, we decided it was best that I use the time in September to return to Philadelphia to acquaint myself with my new teammates and prepare for the upcoming NBA season," Simmons wrote in a statement released to the public

Simmons received a rookie-scale max contract extension worth $170 million over five years earlier in the offseason. He has made it a goal to improve his game and put all his attention towards getting ready for the upcoming 2019-20 NBA season. Simmons' offseason workouts have garnered a lot of media attention, and it seems like he is working on improving his jump shot, something that has been a crucial weakness to his game since being drafted No. 1 overall by the 76ers in the 2016 NBA Draft. 

Harris spent a day doing offseason workouts with Simmons in Los Angeles, and he said that Simmons made a couple of threes against him. 

"He's [Simmons] made big improvements on his game, his jump shot is looking really good," Harris said in the team's introductory press conference earlier this month. "He has the confidence to shoot it." 

Now Harris is following Simmons in terms of taking the extra time in the offseason to work on improving their game on the court. 

After losing in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors, the 76ers showed they they were extremely close to being able to take the next step and reach the NBA Finals. As a result, both Harris and Simmons are working harder and longer in the offseason in an attempt to propel the team to reach its goal of winning a NBA championship. 

Hopefully the extra time put in the gym by two of the 76ers' star players ends up making a positive difference in helping the team reach the ultimate goal of bringing home a championship to the city of Philadelphia. 

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