Category: Sixers (page 1 of 92)

Larry Brown Said he “Blindsided” Scott O’Neil, and Iverson Should be Assistant G.M.

Photo Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After yesterday’s delayed shouting match between legendary coach Larry Brown and Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil, Brown called in to Angelo Cataldi’s morning show this morning to offer this half apology:

“I didn’t mean to create a firestorm and couple things that were said, they didn’t exactly come out right. One, I have no problem with Brett Brown and I love him. He’s been involved with Gregg Popovich who’s family to me and I have unbelievable respect. I think a lot things that came out of my mouth, I was a little upset.”

Brown continued to explain to he was mainly upset about people he knows and loves not being kept on by the Sixers, namely former Director of Player Personnel Courtney Witte and and former GM Tony DiLeo. He also thinks Aaron McKie needs to be involved:

“If anybody deserved to be part of that franchise, I felt it was Aaron [McKie] and then I was really upset when Eric [Snow] and George [Lynch] and myself weren’t able to get to Allen’s retirement. And then, I’m concerned, I wanted Allen involved with that franchise in a real positive way and in an important way. So a lot of that stuff happened to come out, but at the end of the day, I want them to do well. I like David Blitzer [part Sixers owner] a lot, I know him. I know Brett, I want them to win. I do want to see them struggling.”

I understand that Larry wants AI involved in the franchise in a positive way, and I understand that he loves and respects him. But at some point, Larry has to stop babysitting Allen and pretending that he could actually be, as Larry mentioned, an Assistant General Manager. And finally, Larry says he spoke to Scott O’Neil yesterday:

“I was kind of upset with, a little bit of some of the stuff he said about me, but you know, he had that right. I guess I kind of blind-sided him. I didn’t realize it was gonna come out the way it did. But at the end of the day, we have the greatest fans there. They support the team. It’s a basketball community, you know, when you got Sonny Hill and all the great college programs there and the high schools. I just want, I want them to do well. I guess that’s my point.”

We can just all go ahead and check back in with Larry when the Sixers are 10-30. You can listen to Larry’s whole call, and his pleas for openness from Sam Hinkie, over here.

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LARRY BROWN AND SCOTT O’NEIL ARE ATTACKING EACH OTHER ON THE RADIO AND THIS IS SO GREAT

Photo credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Brown has completely lost his marbles.

[Listen to both the Brown and O'Neil interviews.]

He called in to the Jon and Sean Show on 97.5 The Fanatic to impart his long, contradictory, back when I was in charge thoughts on why the Sixers are doing it all wrong. ALL WRONG, I tell you! He sounded drunk and sleepy, like Frank Langella’s Richard Nixon when he called David Frost late at night in Frost-Nixon– just all rambly and weird. I used to love cheeseburgers, but Dr. Lungren switched me to cottage cheese and pineapple instead. He calls it my Hawaiian burger. But they don’t taste like burgers at all, they taste like Styrofoam. You need a George Lynch. To be honest, I’m not sure what point Brown (or Nixon) was trying to make. He of course brought up Mr. Snider, Allen Iverson, Aaron McKie, George Lynch and Eric Snow, as though they are some deities against which all future NBA successes and failures should be measured. Basically, Brown hates analytics, hates how whom he perceives as non-basketball guys are running the Sixers, hates how there’s a seven-year plan, and hates that he wasn’t invited back for Iverson’s retirement ceremony.

Brown seems to think that the Sixers’ use of analytics is somehow different from his own prescribed strategies for success – high draft picks, young players, stars, teaching – when, really, it’s not. To their credit, Jon and Sean pushed back hard on Brown, who was basically talking in circles. The Sixers, at the moment, don’t have an Allen Iverson or anything even close to an Allen Iverson, and the only way to get one is to be really bad and cross your fingers that you luck into the top pick in the draft (which is what Iverson was, in case Brown forgets that part). Brown kept talking about trying to get better now and in the future. But it doesn’t work that way in the NBA. The Sixers tried that for years. It invariably leads to mediocrity. It leads to Chris Webber and shit. It leads to Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller. The only time it worked is when the Sixers had one of the top three players in the league and a patchwork of lightning-in-a-bottle defenders and glue guys. Statistically speaking, that 2001 team’s success was unlikely, and they weren’t in a conference with LeBron James.

Brown criticized trading Jrue Holiday and the ever-medicore Thaddeus Young, but failed to acknowledge how Holiday turned into Nerlens Noel and made way Michael Carter-Williams, the NBA Rookie of the Year. When Sean pointed that out to Brown, he responded by proclaiming that you get better by teaching players and lamenting that no one has a “five or six or seven or eight-year plan in the NBA.”

“You can have a plan, but that’s a plan to save your ass,” Brown said. “To give yourself time.”

He even, weirdly, took aim at the Sixers’ new planned Camden practice facility, saying that they’re a “Philly team” and that a facility in Jersey will make it tough for players to stay late at night because of the longer commute home (and, presumably, because Camden).

But here’s the crux of Brown’s beef with the current Sixers regime:

“Eric Snow and George Lynch work for me, right? [The Sixers] are retiring Allen’s jersey– you know how close Allen and I are. He’s family to me. Yeah, we’ve had differences, but nobody loves him more than me, and I think he feels the same way. And his two favorite players besides Aaron McKie are George Lynch and Eric Snow. [The Sixers] didn’t even invite us back to his retirment ceremony. How is that?”

You did a video…

“Yeah… video. Detroit’s having a reunion of the 2004 team, and I don’t know how many times they’ve called me to ask me what day I would be available to go.”

O’Neil called in to respond a short time later: Continue reading

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Larry Brown Has Gone Nuclear in His Sword Fight with Scott O’Neil

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!!!!!!

I love it when Larry Brown gets riled up, because his outbursts are usually followed by bouts of uncontrollable reminiscing about Allen Iverson … oh, wait, he already did that yesterday?

“Can you imagine telling Allen Iverson that this is a rebuilding season so we’re going to be bad on purpose?” Brown continued. “I love [Nerlens] Noel, I love Joel [Embiid]. But you can’t put that stuff into them. Again, it boggles my mind. I understand you have to get assets to get better. You get assets by developing young players, draft picks, and moving contracts. But how much teaching is going on?”

I’m not sure where we go from here, but something tells me it involves O’Neil texting Brown a picture of his manhood… or, you know, his actual resume, which is pretty good:

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Villanovans are just born leaders.

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Larry Brown and Scott O’Neil Are in a Public Pissing Match over Tanking

If there’s one thing you learn from playing basketball with Scott O’Neil, it’s don’t get in Scott O’Neil’s way (and also don’t try to take him off the bounce). Right now, he’s headed backwards, intentionally, and he isn’t going to be stopped by recent comments made by the old-timey Larry Brown.

First, here’s Brown yelling at a cloud:

“I hate what’s going on in Philly,” the Hall of Fame coach said Wednesday. “They don’t have a basketball person in the organization. It makes me sick to my stomach.”

“These analytics, they don’t mean squat to me,” Brown said. “Throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. To say that these analytics guys have the answer is crazy. It doesn’t apply to basketball. Everybody uses the data you get, but that’s what coaching is. Maybe it will work, I don’t know. But it’s a shame what those fans are going through waiting to see if it will.”

Brown’s been here before. In June, he told the WIP Morning Show that advanced analytics are ruining sports. Maybe they are. But they also seem to be working for a lot of teams, in many sports. The Tampa Bay Rays are probably the best example of a team that used Wall Street philosophies to have sports success (read The Extra 2%– it’s great). They didn’t win the World Series (smirks), but they managed to improbably finish ahead of the Yankees or Red Sox, or both, four times since 2008. The same tactic hasn’t quite been proven in basketball, but there’s little reason to doubt that it can work, at least in theory. And that’s what the Sixers are doing– looking for inefficiencies in the system and exploiting them.

O’Neil, of course, is not just going to let those comments about his team float out there unanswered. Angelo Cataldi brought up Brown’s comments on his WIP Morning Show today, forcing O’Neil to call in and respond, viciously:

“You know, after seeing Larry Brown’s SMU team in the Final Four this year it was tough to hear those kind of comments. Was he in the Final Four this year? … You know, I think it’s hard for people not in the market to understand what we’re and how we’re doing it. I think the good thing about Philadelphia is that the fans certainly get it.”

You can shit talk many people in basketball, but Larry Brown is close to untouchable — but only “close to,” and O’Neil was right to defend his team’s strategy. In yesterday’s edition of the Crossing Streams podcast, we discussed (with Eliot Shorr-Parks, who broke down his own reaction to this here) the idea of taking emotion out of the equation and running a team like a business. It’s still yet to be seen if that is going to work for the Sixers, but the organization is at least taking a run (a long run, but a run) at the top of the league instead of trying to coach their way to the middle. But to defend Coach Brown, SMU was 27–10 last year, made it to the NIT Finals, and was ranked in the AP Poll for the first time in 30 years.

The full audio of O’Neil’s call is after the jump.

Continue reading

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Brett Brown Never Thought Nerlens Would Play Power Forward Because He Thought He’d Have Wiggins

Photo Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The only draw of the 76ers opening night (both on the road and at home) is the debut of delayed-rookie Nerlens Noel. When Noel was drafted last year, he looked like the 76ers’ center of the future. But after this year’s draft and the selection of also-delayed Joel Embiid, Nerlens is going to be playing at the power forward spot, or at least trying to. According to Brett Brown, he never saw this coming:

“I said from Day 1 I never intended on playing Nerlens at a 4. I anticipated probably getting Andrew Wiggins as our (2014 top draft) pick and he’s back at a 5. All of a sudden, you get Joel. I feel like this is a great opportunity for us to try something and see how they can co-exist.”

When there was a chance we could get the #1 pick in the lottery, people wanted Wiggins. When there were rumblings he could fall to #3 (behind Embiid and Parker), people wanted Wiggins. When Embiid got hurt and shifted around the top picks, people wanted to trade up to #1 to get Wiggins. It makes sense that Brett Brown wanted (or at least thought he’d be getting) Wiggins, but once Embiid got hurt, Hinkie’s plans presumably changed, and it became Brown’s job from that day to make sure Embiid and Noel could play together. Tonight, we’ll begin to see if Nerlens can play alone.

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Charles Barkley Tried to be Too Fat to be Drafted by the 76ers

Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After failing miserably at a game of charades on Monday night’s the Tonight Show, Charles Barkley shared a story about how he got fat on purpose well before he got fat by accident. According to Barkley, he didn’t want to get drafted by the 76ers because they didn’t pay well. Charles told Jimmy Fallon that the 76ers brought him in before the draft and he weighed 292 lbs. and asked him to weigh 285 lbs. on the day before the draft. After working out and getting down to 280 lbs., Barkley’s agent told him the Sixers likely wouldn’t pay much for his one-year rookie deal, and with only a few days left before the draft:

In a bid to make himself undesirable before the drafting, he ate two Grand Slam breakfasts from Denny’s totaling 1,660 calories, went to lunch at Red Lobster gobbling down every hush puppy in sight, and feasted on two T-bone steaks for dinner … He then repeated the menu the following day before flying to Philadelphia for his final weigh-in. After his non-stop feeding session Barkley managed to bulk up his 6ft 6in frame to 302lbs.

Of course the Sixers drafted him anyway, and Charles continued to make a few too many trips to Denny’s over his career.

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You Can Get into the Sixers’ Season Opener in Indiana for Five Bucks

Two men who will not be playing tomorrow.  Photo Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Two men who will not be playing tomorrow.
Photo Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Although not opening it up at home until Saturday night — where the main draw will be the pre-tip projection — the 76ers season begins on the road tomorrow in Indianapolis against the injury-ridden Indiana Pacers. The two jilted former-lovers of Evan Turner (“We are never ever, ever getting back together,” both teams happily told E.T.) will meet with depleted lineups across the board. Fans will enter the Bankers Life Fieldhouse to see a Pacers starting lineup that will include Luis Scola, Donald Sloan, and C.J. Miles as they face off against an almost full-strength Sixers starting five consisting of Nerlens Noel, Tony Wroten, Henry Sims, and maybe Luc Mbah a Moute, maybe K.J. McDaniels. And they can catch all of that for under $5.

As pointed out by Time magazine, the NBA (especially in cities where the teams are less than great) has trouble filling the stands, which brings the secondary market price way down on tickets. For the Sixers’ home opener, the get in the door price at the Wells Fargo Center hovers around $30 (for now), while the Pacers’ home debut can be caught for as little as $4.95. There are 369 tickets currently available for under $10 at the Pacers opener, which is a likely frequent occurrence at the WFC this year. It may be a new feeling for the Pacers but the 76ers, who saw lots of low attendance numbers last season, remember it all too well.

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Evaluate Our Jump Shots

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Last night the Sixers invited assorted media and bloggers to the Wells Fargo Center to preview their new magic court projection system. We were each given our own locker in NBA Locker Room 2 (I presume this is used solely for LeBron’s entourage when he’s in town) which came with a nameplate, official NBA socks (HOT), and four tickets to the home opener (nothing like kissing up before this festering turd of a season). After showing off the wiz-bang projection system – which is pretty fantastic and I imagine even cooler in an arena full partly full with at least tens of fans in attendance – we were led down to the floor for custom intros complete with (terrifying) smoke machines, Sixers Phlight Squad chest bumps (bungled mine), and Matt Cord, who most likely would’ve preferred to have been doing anything else at that particular moment.

There was a game of Knockout, which kicked off with me taking a rogue Spalding to the face. Thankfully, no blood. But I was this close to being the blogger who got a bloody nose all over the Sixers’ court… though that may have proven to be the hardwood’s high point of the season.

And then, a three-point contest. Jim and I each made two shots.

Jump shot breakdown:

Jim: Low release point, but gets the shot off quickly enough to avoid being blocked. Could use a little more height on the jump. His spring forward resembles a bird hopping to its next breadcrumb, which creates a weird juxtaposition with his Zach Galifianakis-meets-Shawn-Marion overall look. But still, effective. B-.

Mine (written by Jim): I didn’t get video of Kyle’s three-point contest round — and I don’t remember how many he made — but his shot is certainly more rhythmic and dare I say normal than mine. It’s fundamentals from bottom to top, and where it seemed like my shot was either in or not even remotely close, Kyle’s were at least consistently rim-adjacent. I also bit pretty hard on one of his pump fakes in the 5-on-5 game and envisioned coming down wrong on my ankle and making a real fool of myself. Luckily, I landed relatively balanced. B.

 

Sixers and Devils CEO Scott O’Neil won both Knockout and the three-point contest. He’s a monster. But more on him in a second, because I have to talk about the 5-on-5 game.

Side 1 (with sub): Me, Marshall Harris (CSN), Derek Bodner (Liberty Ballers, 97.3 ESPN), Eliot Shorr-Parks (NJ.com), and two Sixers employees that I didn’t know who are probably super important.

Side 2: Jim, Scott O’Neil (Sixers and Devils CEO), Mike Missanelli (97.5 The Fanatic), Jason McIntyre (The Big Lead), and another Sixers employee that wasn’t Sam Hinkie.

Selective scouting reports: Eliot is all-around solid and able to drive effectively, though Jim did send one of his shot attempts into, no joke, the third row. Jim and his hipster sweatpants are deceptively skilled, and they ran at least one effective backdoor cut thanks to a nasty screen Missanelli set on yours truly. I think it was a moving pick, to be honest, but I’d expect nothing less from someone who teaches in the shadow of Phil Martelli at St. Joe’s.

My heat check was lukewarm at best. I think I went 0-for-4 from the field with a couple of rim-outs and a circus shot miss as I drove the lane one-on-one against O’Neil. There it was, my one shot at glory and an NBA contract, and I missed everything.

O’Neil, who can’t stop, wouldn’t stop moving*, was the story of the game. Whatever quality makes someone successful enough to be the CEO of two sports teams, is exactly the same quality that suits them up in official NBA game shorts and layered team-issued warmups, and gives them an on-court demeanor that I would describe as “friendly, but no seriously I came to win get off my floor if you’re not here to do the same” for a late-night pickup game against strange bedfellows. At one point I was doubled over, wondering if I was about to become that 31-year-old who suffered a heart attack, and looked up to see what I think was O’Neil trying to get his team to run a full-court trap on Harris. I was searching for oxygen, O’Neil was searching for the nail in the coffin. His team eventually found it. They finished us off, 11-10, and not a moment too soon. The legs hurt today. The legs hurt.

*We’re celebrating Taylor Swift’s album release by crowbarring one of her lyrics into every post today. Jim might quit by the end of the day.

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