Since the 76ers only have 10 players under contract and they usually carry 14 players, Ed Stefanski admitted that he is in the market for “a guard, a swingman, and two bigs” . Now we don’t know whether Stefanski classifies the 2-spot as a swingman or a guard, but we’ll assume that either way he realizes we need to find someone to compete with Jason Kapono and Willie Green for the starting shooting guard spot.
The pool of available veteran free agent shooting guards has dwindled to the point that names like Eddie House, Juan Dixon, Devean George and Quinton Richardson are the headliners. Now we realize that both Von Wafer (HOU) and Ronald “Flip” Murray (ATL) are two more attractive names that are also out there, but our sources tell us they are unlikely to leave the teams the ran with last season, thus we removed them from the conversation. So it looks as though bringing in a veteran NBA 2-guard here to Philadelphia for next year is not going to happen.
All of this means that the 2-guard Stefanski brings into camp will most likely be an undrafted rookie free agent and that is why Stefanski is paying close attention to the action in the NBA Summer League out in Las Vegas. However, we’d be willing to bet that despite his search in Vegas, the player who goes to camp with Sixers and is given a chance to make the Sixers roster is former Temple star and Philly native, Dionte Christmas.
As you may recall, Christams burned with the Sixers/Nets conglomerate squad in the Orlando Pro Summer League and during a loss to the Orlando Magic he hit for 18 points. Additionally, Sixers assistant coach Aaron McKie spent an enormous amount of time working with Christmas to the point that you would have thought the two were conjoined twins down in O-town
This week Christmas is running with the Clippers in Las Vegas and has already shown that he can step-aside and be a team contributor during his Clipper debut. Sharing the court with top-pick Griffin and Clippers starting guard Eric Gordon, Christmas was solid defensively and unselfish with the ball, shot 50 percent and scored 4 points. Christmas received only 9 minutes in his second game, and went 1-2 shooting, scoring 2 points.
Given his limited minutes with the Clips summer League team and the fact that LAC already has a slew of guards who like to shoot the ball regardless of their position (Baron Davis and Ricky Davis to name just two), it seems unlikely that Christmas would stick with LAC and get an invitation to their camp.
Which again brings us back to the idea that Christmas may be presented with a serious opportunity to NOT just make the Sixers squad in 2009-10, but also play serious minutes.
Given this possibility, Philadunkia contributor D.S. Brown thought it was would be a good idea to sit down with Christmas out in Las Vegas for a quick Q & A session…
Philadunkia: What was the experience like playing with the Sixers/Nets team in Orlando?
Christmas: It was great, getting the best of both worlds, with the combined team of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets. It was also a great experience playing with new draft picks like Jrue Holiday and Terrence Williams and second-year man CDR (Chris-Douglas Roberts). All of the guys are trying their best to make the team.
Philadunkia: What is it like to switch teams so quick, now playing for the Clippers?
Christmas : Coming into the Summer League you have to know the situation and know your place on the team. You got Eric Gordon, a guy who started for the Clippers last year, you got Blake Griffin, number one draft pick, you have Mike Taylor who contributed for the Clippers last year. I’m playing behind some good talented guards. I didn’t expect to come and get 25 or 30 minutes a game, I’m just playing my part. When I got in I thought i did pretty well, I defended the ball and made a couple shots. It felt good. It was only the first game.
Philadunkia: Describe what it was like to play with top-pick Blake Griffin.
Christmas : I just got to L.A. on Friday, so I have only had the chance to practice with him for three days before playing tonight, but it was great. Playing with Blake makes it alot easier because you have double teams coming from everywhere, and for a shooter like myself, its a dream. He did his thing out there and he’s a fun guy to play with.
Philadunkia: Ever thought what it would be like to get signed by the hometown 76ers?
Christmas : (Smiling) I couldn’t even describe it. I have alot of friends back in Philly and it would be great. I had a great mentor in Aaron McKie. I stuck to his side whole time I was in Orlando. He (McKie) took me under his wing, you know, being a former Temple guy. I believe I can play in this League and if I was afforded the opportunity to play for the Philadelphia 76ers or any other organization they would get 110 percent from me everyday. They would get a great shooter, and even more important a great person and a great teammate. But I would definitely be very, very happy and grateful to play with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Philadunkia: On a lighter side, I see you rockin’ the headphones. Who’s in the ipod and what kind on music do you listen to before the game?
Christmas : A lil bit of everything, man. I been listening to Jeezy, Lil Wayne, the new artist Drake, i been listening to him alot. Some other artists also like Meek Millz. He’s a Philly artist, I like to listen to him, and he’s a good rapper. I listen to alot of artists though.
Philadunkia: Lastly Dionte, what do you think about the whole LeBron and Nike controversy?
Christmas : Nike did what Nike did, like someone said, you can’t control what those guys want to do. To be honest, I don’t think LeBron had a problem with it. You know the kid, he dunked on him, it happens. If your playing defense, your going to get dunked on. I don’t think LeBron had a problem with it, I think Nike had a problem with it. I guess they thought, with the way economy is, it could mess up sales or something. You know thats in the NBA’s and Nike’s hand, but to be honest i don’t think LeBron had a problem with the tape getting out.