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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

How Much Pressure is on Brett Brown?

September 24th, 2016

“I won’t go there.”

That’s what I answered when asked about the 76ers 2016 media luncheon (namely because I wasn’t invited).  However, this was also the phrase used by Head Coach Brett Brown at the aforementioned luncheon when asked for a win total goal for the upcoming season.

The exchange between Brown and the media was symbolic of what the fourth-year lead man of the Sixers can expect this upcoming season; pressure and expectations.  Let’s keep realistic…on paper the Sixers still don’t blow anyone away.  However for the first time since taking the helm in 2013 Brown is working with a legitimate NBA roster.  In the past, a lot of the media and blogosphere have withheld and reserved any critique of the ‘Bostralian’ due to the “tanking / process” circumstances at hand.  That won’t be the case during the 2016-17 season.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

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…

Read the rest of this entry »

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

Odd Man Out: Nik Stauskas

July 28th, 2016

Back in April the sudden resignation of Sam Hinkie and the immediate hiring of former Suns and most recently Raptors General Manager Bryan Colangelo signaled a drastic change in thinking for the 76ers rebuilding process. Colangelo’s focus on the roster for the near future can already be felt.   He added veterans like combo-guard Jerryd Bayless and wingman Gerald Henderson.  And of course Colangelo signed Dario Saric.

At Draft16 Colangelo used the No. 1 overall pick to select clearly the most talented prospect in Ben Simmons who will be in the starting lineup come November.  At the end of the 1st Round (No. 24) Colangelo also found a gem in French prospect Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot who should contribute in 2016-17.  These moves certainly were a split from the long term “process” thinking of Hinkie. The change in course by the Sixers’ front office and the addition of perimeter players who should have an immediate impact raised the question here at Philadunkia of, ‘What will happen with Nik Stauskas?’

Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome Home “G”

July 19th, 2016

Overshadowed in the pandemonium Dario Saric caused by coming to America to sign with the 76ers as well as Simmons-palooza out in the Las Vegas, was the two-year $18million deal Philly native Gerald Henderson inked with the franchise.  The 7-year NBA veteran (28-years old) who attended Episcopal Academy (back when the Main Line prep school was located on City Ave.), spent last season with the Portland Trail Blazers where he averaged 8.7 ppg. while shooting 44% from the field and 35% from deep.

The exciting news on Saric and Simmons’ eye-popping play out in the desert are certainly causes for celebration, but for me the addition of Henderson was a fantastic move that did not receive the attention it deserves.  I believe Henderson will have an immediate positive impact on this team and thus help the franchise take a step forward in 2016-17.  After the jump we present an analysis of Henderson’s game that includes insights from Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach David Vanterpool.

 

Read the rest of this entry »