As a reminder, this Philadunkia question and answer series is “loosely based” on ESPN.com’s highly successful, NBA related series of posts titled “5on5”. Our version of this genre of posts will ask 4 Philadunkia scribes to answer 4 topical, hot button questions about our Philadelphia 76ers.
Now you’re probably asking, “Why not simply stick with the “5on5″ format that ESPN.com uses?”
Well as any great hoops coach will tell you — playing 4on4 is the best way to truly learn the game of basketball.
After the jump four Philadunkia scribes will address four key questions that came out of yesterday’s press conference. Included in this edition are opinions on when to bring back Noel, the lack of a head coach and the Royce White situation.
1) Yesterday Nerlens said, “I’m doing six hours of rehab a day. I’m making a lot of progress,” and indicated that his knee is healing nicely. However, Sam Hinkie stated, “Nerlens is motivated and hungry to return,” he added, “but his long-term health is of most importance.” If Nerlens is given the medical green light in January, would you play him or have him sit out the entire season?
Jeff McMenamin: January just seems like too early for me for the type of injury he sustained. It wasn’t a freakish ACL tear, it was a disgusting ACL tear…For those of you who haven’t seen it already. On a team that should be looking to tank next season, I’d sit him out as long as possible. Maybe play him in 10-20 games towards the end of the season to get his NBA feet wet, but nothing more. I’d even be fine with him sitting out the entire season and focusing on building some muscle for that scrawny frame.
Steve Toll: I fully expect Noel to play basketball next year. Once he gets the green light, there is no reason for him not to play basketball. Unfortunately for fans of the 76ers, I expect most of his playing time to come with the 87ers.
C. Smith: I wouldn’t play him in January, but by late-February, he would be suiting up for the 87ers and by late March he would be on the floor for the Sixers. That is plenty of time for a pro athlete, especially one as young as Nerlens, to recover from an ACL injury, so I am not worried about him reinjuring the knee. I would want to give him at least a small taste of what playing in the NBA is like this year and I want to know what this kid specifically needs to work during summer 2014 to succeed vs. NBA caliber competition.
Jake Fischer: I definitely want to see Nerlens on the court at some point next season, but I definitely don’t want that to happen in 2013. I also don’t want that to happen until he’s at least 235 pounds, his flat-top is 2 feet tall and he is 100 percent confident in his knee’s strength. Last year, we heard tons of reports that Derrick Rose was ferociously dunking in practice but didn’t come back too soon. This season doesn’t matter at all for the 76ers, why should he rush to come back? He’s 19 and has, as Hinkie said, a 15-year career ahead of him. Let him take his time and show what he can do more around the trade deadline. That’s enough time to rest and build some chemistry with teammates going into 2014-2015.
2) Sir Charles called the Sixers lack of a head coach “silly”. Additionally, numerous sports radio personalities in Philly are upset about the lack of a head coach. However, yesterday Sam Hinkie didn’t seemed to be bothered by the fact that the job remains open. Do you care that the Sixers still do not officially have a new head coach?
Jeff McMenamin: I’m officially over the Sixers’ coaching search. I cared a good amount about it before the NBA Draft, because I feel like the players you draft generally fit a coach’s game plan, but now that the Draft is in the past and OSPL has come and gone it doesn’t matter to me at all. If the search is truly between Brett Brown and Michael Curry then I’d love to see Brown man the helm, but if Curry comes in instead that’s fine as well. The Sixers are going to lose a ton of games, so whatever coach can effectively develop the youth of this team next season is fine with me.
Steve Toll: I’m much more concerned with the fact that Charles Barkley is ever asked anything about basketball.
C. Smith: I don’t care and the fact that Barkley and people on WIP are upset about the lack of a head coach tells me that I’m on the correct side of this debate. Look, the Sixers are going to lose a lot of games next year even if Red Auerbach rises from the dead and becomes the head coach. So as long as Hinkie picks a guy at some point prior to training camp that can command a locker room and develop young talent, that’s good enough for me. For now!
Jake Fischer: I am a full believer in Hinkie’s methodical approach. Even though he hasn’t spoken to the press much, a common theme in his pressers is that they are following a plan and directed process. When I spoke with Sam in Orlando at Summer League, he expressed a patient mindset and relaxed demeanor. And frankly, he knows he’s one of the smartest people that’s even remotely involved within the NBA. You can criticize Hinkie all you want, you can call him an idiot and you can call him “silly,” but the dude is technically one of the most impressive Stanford graduate school students ever. Just like Noel said yesterday, “Sam’s just a genius.” Also, a league source told me many weeks ago that he believed hiring a head coach was the last thing on Hinkie’s to-do list. He’s simply starting from scratch. We should all just appreciate the wrecking ball he’s running through Philadelphia.
3) Hinkie’s quotes on Royce White were all over the place and at times vague yesterday. Does White make any positive on-the-court contribution for the 76ers in 2013-14?
Jeff McMenamin: Royce White is quite the enigma, kind of like Evan Turner. He was a highly rated recruit in high school, he put up great numbers in college, he has the frame to play at a high level in the NBA and at one point received an honorable mention from the AP to be named an All-American. The problem is that White suffers from various mental health issues which have stopped him from translating that play to the NBA level, mainly anxiety issues. White also hates flying and has an obsessive compulsive disorder. The extent of his NBA career has been in the D-league and as much as I’d love to see his career and mental state take a 360 and White turn into the player he once was, it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. I don’t have too much faith for a positive contribution from him next season.
Steve Toll: Royce will have some positive moments next year that’s for certain. Equally certain is those moments will be few and far between.
C. Smith: I believe he does. White has been playing in the well respected Howard Pulley Pro-City Summer League (Minneapolis) this off-season and I am told that he looks very good. We all know he has the body and skill set to play in the NBA. Additionally, White will certainly be motivated at training camp to prove that he belongs on an NBA team. If Hinkie & Co. give him a legit opportunity to make the roster, I think he can and will contribute positively to the Sixers in 2013-14. Of course that may not be what Hinkie wants out of White in his “Winless for Wiggins” campaign.
Jake Fischer: I also talked with Doug West, former Villanova player and assistant coach and now a coach with the Houston Rockets’ D-League affiliate the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, who coached White last season and he said that White “will be a very talented player if he ever gets on the court.” I think there’s a zero-percent chance White is anywhere but with the Delaware 87ers at the start of next season, but if he’s not in uniform for at least one Sixers game next season, I will quit sportswriting. That being said, I can’t imagine White having any more of an impact on this team than Arnett Moultrie did last season.
4) The Sixers only have four guards under contract Michael Carter-Williams, Jason Richardson, Justin Holiday (team-option for 2013-14) and James Anderson. They are also reportedly looking at former Rutgers star Quincy Douby. Who is on your list of guards that get an invite to Sixers training camp?
Jeff McMenamin: Send Khalif Wyatt and Kevin Anderson an invite to training camp. Wyatt impressed at OSPL averaging 13.8 points, 3.2 assists and 1.6 steals and could add some much needed scoring to the Sixers bench next season. Anderson’s a guy I was in love with in college at Richmond. He averaged 16.6 points, 3.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds in his senior year. Anderson was also the 2009-10 Atlantic 10 player of the year. He went undrafted in 2011, but averaged 12.5 points, 3 rebounds and 3.5 assists in France which got him an invite to Cavaliers camp last summer. I think he has a lot to his game, he just needs a chance to show it.
Steve Toll: Allen Iverson, Steve Francis, and Stephen Marbury are exactly what this city needs. Crafty, crappy veterans who will both provide entertainment for the fans and won’t help the team win games. Everyone wins…
C. Smith: Any quality veteran guard I actually want invited to camp will only help this team win games and we all know that is not the goal in 2013-14. So with that in mind, in addition to MCW, J-Rich and James Anderson, my list of back-court camp invitees includes Khalif Wyatt and 6-5 shooting guard Kent Bazemore. Getting Bazemore who killed it in Vegas this summer (18.4 ppg.; 4.6 rpg. & 3.1 apg), to Sixers camp could be a little tricky. He has a no-guaranteed $780K deal with GSW, but he is buried on their depth chart and I’m sure they would send him to Philly for close to nothing. I cut ties with Holiday before camp. It’s was cute pickup last year, but now that’s over.
Jake Fischer: MCW, J-Rich (Who’s hurt so won’t be participating), Holiday, Anderson, Khalif Wyatt, James Southerland (more of a forward but still a wing) and two more players to be named later. I’d be shocked if they don’t bring in a veteran point guard on a cheap one-year contract. That could easily be Douby.