McConnell’s Success Should Be No Shocker

February 24th, 2017

On Saturday night the short-handed 76ers put up a tremendous fight against the New York Knicks, but were eventually bested by a fade-away jumper at the buzzer from the All-Star simply known as “Melo”.  The loss dropped the Sixers record to 22-36 on the season and with a brutal schedule the rest of the month, my training camp prediction of a 35 win season now seems like a pipe dream.

Still, for the most part I have truly enjoyed watching this group of rookies and undiscovered “prospects” play basketball this season as “The Process” moves ever forward. Additionally, there have been a few positive revelations we can take from the first half of the season.  It’s become very obvious that when healthy, Joel Embiid is a superstar caliber player.  There is now little doubt that rookie Dario Saric will thrive in the NBA. Robert Covington has proven to be a solid “three and D” role player. Finally, TJ McConnell has shown that he can be a rock steady point guard in this League.  To most, the last positive item is the biggest revelation of all.

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Nerlens…Now is Not the Time

September 27th, 2016

Pulling the trigger now on a Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor trade would be like slow cooking ribs for three hours then throwing them in the microwave to finish.

Noel rocked Philadelphia with comments over the weekend and then doubled down on those sentiments at media day on Monday, “I think it’s just silly…this situation that we are in now with three starting centers, with the departure of Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to get something done this summer…I think something needs to happen.”

Sorry Nerlens, but 76ers shouldn’t be forced to settle this situation prematurely in order to satisfy your individual needs.  This is about the bigger picture.

 

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The Point Guard Dilemma

September 13th, 2016

If we put Carson Wentz-mania aside for a minute and turn our attention to the 76ers one would notice that as training camp nears, the team has a number of nice pieces in place, but faces one looming question.

The roster Sam Hinkie and the Colangelos have assembled features a deep and versatile frontcourt as well as athletic wings that can fill the lanes on the break, shoot the three ball and play defense. Add a respectable collection of guards to those items and one could argue that the Sixers now have an NBA worthy roster.  With a solid, well liked head coach in Brett Brown at the helm, expert basketball predictions are saying the table is set for the 76ers to take a step forward this season.

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Iverson the Hero

September 9th, 2016

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 8/26/2013…

The definition of a hero is generally a person or figure, who is admired or idealized for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

As a Philadelphia sports fan my entire life, I have had plenty of opportunities to pick who this person was for me growing up.

There was the hard-hitting but well-spoken Brian Dawkins of the Eagles, that truly left everything he had out on the football field on Sunday’s.  He set the tone on defense for a team which reached the Super Bowl in 2004.

There’s the great Chase Utley of the Phillies.  He helped win the city its first major sports title after a 25-year drought and defines the word toughness on the baseball field.

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What is Saric’s Role this Season?

September 1st, 2016

Even though Dario Saric displayed moments of basketball brilliance down in Rio, the role the San Hinkie’s Euro “star” will take on for our 76ers remains uncertain.  There’s no doubt the Croatian national will see significant playing time for Brett Brown this coming season but it remains unclear if the rookie will appear in the first-five; or if he will be a valuable 6th man type; or simply a second unit player.  It may also take some time to clarify which position Saric is best suited to play in the NBA, but that’s a topic for a different post.

Despite all the question marks that surround Saric’s role during his debut season in a 76er uniform, one thing is certain, online NBA odds are forecasting that with Saric on the roster (and fellow rookie Ben Simmons) the 76ers will be a much better team in 2016-17.  After the jump we’ll take an overview of Saric’s career and examine how the big man has done as a starter and a reserve with his previous teams.

 

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Interview: Gerald Henderson

August 19th, 2016

Two weeks ago I authored a post on the signing of Gerald Henderson which discussed that with all the focus on Simmons and Saric, I believed the signing of the veteran free agent had flown completely under the radar. In short the analysis contained in the post said that Henderson’s 3-point shooting, solid perimeter defense and leadership skills would have a significant and immediate impact on the 76ers in 2016-17.

This weekend Henderson will make his first visit to Philly since signing with the 76ers to assist his good friend and former Episcopal Academy teammate Wayne Ellington (Miami Heat) with Ellington’s “Peace Games” event.  The “Peace Games” aim is to bring at-risk youth and young adults together while emphasizing gun violence prevention and advocacy.  The event will take place at Girard College on Saturday, August 20th (noon to 5PM) and will include a basketball tournament open to the public.  Henderson gave fellow Philadunkia scribe Michael Kaskey-Blomain and I a few minutes to discuss the “Peace Games” event and his role with the 2016-17 Sixers as well as Dario Saric and Ben Simmons.

As always, Q&A after the J…

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Breaking Down the Beast

August 17th, 2016

President Barack Obama really likes him, even added the inflection “really.” Some think he may be the next generational talent in the NBA, LeBron James’ successor. That’s all well and good but neither the president’s praise nor the feelings of pending superstardom mean this stuff will come immediately to Ben Simmons as a member of our Philadelphia 76ers.

The key to analyzing Simmons is to first establish what the realistic expectations for his rookie season are. He isn’t going to be LeBron right away; he almost surely won’t even have the kind of rookie season Lebron had for the Cavs. “The King” was beyond amazing in his first season straight out of high school.

So what can we expect from Simmons during his rookie campaign?

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Fo’ with the Foes: Atlanta Hawks

December 16th, 2015

atlantachiceditThis edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” – Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews key upcoming 76ers games – features tonight’s opponent, the Atlanta Hawks who are in an awful slump right now having lost 3 in a row and 6 of their last 10. To be honest, I like the 76ers chances of stealing a win tonight.

(I can’t believe I just typed that line.)

After the jump, I’ll look a Fo’ key items for tonight’s game. Additionally, we’ll get a little more insight into this Atlanta team the Sixers face tonight from our colleague Brad Rowland at Peach Tree Hoops, as Brad will answer Fo’ questions on his Hawks squad from us here at Philadunkia.

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Drama Is Not What the Sixers Need

December 14th, 2015

dantoniThe 76ers record stands at 1-24.  They have dropped 7 straight games.  The last four loses have been by an average of 23 points.  Brett Brown’s roster does not boast  an NBA starting caliber point guard or shooting guard and features two dynamic bigs that may not be able to play together. They lead the NBA in turnovers (17.4 per game). Lastly, the Sixers have been awful on defense, ranking at the bottom of the League in points allowed (102.8 ppg.– 23rd).  In short, the 76ers are an absolute mess on the court.

Still, despite all the losing, makeshift lineups and embarrassing statistics, I have been impressed that this roster and coaching staff have stuck together in the locker room and that even during the lowest point of “the process” there appears to be no internal drama on this team.  Which is why this past weekend’s rumors regarding former Lakers/Knicks/Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni possibly joining the 76ers staff are raising significant issues in my basketball mind.

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Process This…

December 8th, 2015

colangeloEven for those of us who completely “trust the process”, there is no denying that the 76ers last 2+ seasons have been painful to live through (Last night’s 51-point loss to the Spurs was possibly the most painful moment.). Every individual no matter how mentally and physically tough, has a specific threshold for tolerating pain and once that point is exceeded, you will plead for mercy. Well, apparently a 1-20 record, a host of off-the-court issues from prized rookie Jahlil Okafor and allegedly a push from NBA commissioner Adam Silver have forced the 76ers’ ownership group to finally cry “mercy”.

Thus, on Monday, the Sixers announced that Jerry Colangelo — a Hall of Famer and the man responsible for resurrecting USA Basketball — will join the franchise as a special advisor and chairman of basketball operations.

After the jump, are three different takes I have assembled from my NBA contacts on the most recent move by Josh Harris & Company in “the process” .

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