Archive for the ‘Feature’ Category

McConnell’s Success Should Be No Shocker

Friday, 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

Tuesday, 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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How Much Pressure is on Brett Brown?

Saturday, 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.

 

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The Point Guard Dilemma

Tuesday, 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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What is Saric’s Role this Season?

Thursday, 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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Breaking Down the Beast

Wednesday, 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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Odd Man Out: Nik Stauskas

Thursday, 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?’

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Welcome Home “G”

Tuesday, 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.

 

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Aussie, Aussie, Aussie…Oi, Oi, Oi

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Despite their best efforts to be “active” and create a lot of noise at Draft16, the Colangelos ended up sticking to the script (No.1; No. 24 & No.26).  In the end, they selected three prospects that are receiving very positive reviews from the experts online and the NBA folks I have communicated with over the last twelve hours.

As you know, the 76ers tipped off the the 2016 NBA Draft by grabbing Ben Simmons out of LSU, which according to my NBA contacts was the choice 95% of the League would have made at No. 1.  The Sixers made numerous efforts to get back into the Lottery portion of Draft16 but were unable to find a trade partner. So if you fell asleep under a cloud of disappointment, you missed the Sixers drafting two Euros in the late 1st Round —  Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (at No. 24) and Furkan Korkmaz (at No.26) — who will help this franchise.

More analysis after the jump…

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Getting to Know You

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

On the heels of the 76ers getting drubbed (122-98) by the Toronto Raptors last night — a team Bryan Colangelo had a hand in building — we present a close -up look at the new Sixer GM…

After a highly successful but controversial coup by his father Jerry, newly installed General Manager Bryan Colangelo hit the local airwaves on Monday and Tuesday to deliver his message to Philadunkia nation.  In his orchestrated media blitz, Colangelo basically continued his my regime is “not about a departure from a strategy” mantra and added that the next phase of the Sixers rebuild will be focused on “sustainable winning”.  Tuesday morning on SiriusXMNBA Colangelo continued his media marathon and threw out this zinger, “The time has come to accelerate the process”.

Over the last two days, Colangelo, in general has said all the right things during his numerous appearance on the sports airwaves.  A little part of me was actually impressed with his words.  However, I still don’t believe he is the right man for finishing “The Process” and leading this franchise back to relevancy.  So today in an effort to get a less biased opinion of Colangelo, we turn to our colleague Sam Holako of raptorsrepublic.com to help us examine Colangelo’s time in Toronto.

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