After last night’s Sixers victory against the Raptors, the praise is coming fast and hard. First, here’s Ben Detrick at the Ringer:
Philadelphia’s newfound “winning culture” did not arrive in the suitcases of journeyman free agents or appear thanks to the ouster of former GM Sam Hinkie, the architect of the Sixers’ rebuild whose phantom still hovers over the organization. It was there all along. It’s just visible now, because Embiid’s broken foot finally healed. The 7-foot-2 center looks like a franchise keystone: He’s the size of a McMansion but equipped with stunning mobility, a silky shooting touch, and basketball aptitude that grows exponentially by the game…
Embiid is the result of the Process, and his self-supplied nickname is perfect. In past seasons, even as the team piled up lottery picks and accumulated assets, it was unclear how this mound of clay could be molded and animated. Last year was a napalm junglefire of ineptitude, ranging from on-court performance to ownership’s meek acquiescence to league honchos, and there was no identifiable strength to build around. But now, the path to contention is obvious: Throttle the living shit out of everyone.
With one more 20-point game Embiid’s next time out, he’ll tie Allen Iverson’s Sixers rookie record of consecutive 20-point games with 11. He’s averaging under 28 minutes per game.
And the praise is far and wide. Bill Simmons said today that Joel Embiid makes his All-Star team as a starter, and just look at this tweet from Hardwood Paroxysm (who later modified the idea of it, after being shit on by people on Twitter for an hour):
This is somehow reality.
There are a couple of reasons why today, of all days, inspired these takes. First, the Sixers stuffed one of the league’s best offenses last night and beat the Raptors. Second, Embiid did his now usual scoring a point per minute he’s in the game move. Third, Dario Saric’s highlight blocks brought another part of the Process to the limelight.
The Sixers have won seven of their last nine games. Since December 8th, they’re 10-8. We’re 87 days out of the NBA playoffs. FiveThirtyEight gives the Sixers a 2% chance to make it, but then again, 87 days before the election they gave Donald Trump a 12% chance to become president.
MLB Advanced Media and NBC’s Regional Sports Networks have come together like two of Captain Planet’s protégés to bring you, with their powers combined, Phillies games on your laptop and mobile devices for the first time. Via press release:
NBC Sports Regional Networks today announced an agreement with MLBAM to stream local market MLB games, as well as pre- and postgame shows, beginning with the 2017 regular season. This new streaming offering is available at no additional cost to authenticated pay TV subscribers of NBC Sports Group’s CSN regional sports networks (RSNs). This local initiative advances NBCUniversal’s implementation of “TV Everywhere,” which strives to make quality content available to authenticated customers both in and out of the home, and on multiple platforms.
The addition of MLB authenticated in-market streaming completes the local streaming portfolio for the NBC Sports Regional Networks, which also includes local NBA and NHL live streaming. The RSNs first introduced NBA streaming in 2014 and last fall announced the addition of NHL in-market streaming, beginning with the 2016-17 season.
The NBC Sports Regional Networks now have partnerships for in-market streaming of the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, San Jose Sharks, San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s (CSN Bay Area/CSN California); Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox (CSN Chicago); Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals (CSN Mid-Atlantic); Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia Phillies (CSN Philadelphia); and Boston Celtics (CSN New England).
Games will be streamed through the NBC Sports app, and you’ll be able to watch all in-market MLB games right to your laptop, phone, tablet, or TV (sans cable) with Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, etc. It’ll work the same way streaming a Sixers or Flyers game works now (really well, but you’ll need cable credentials to log in). It’s a small step – but a step nonetheless – to untethering people from traditional cable.
Good report today from Tim McManus, who sheds some light on the somewhat obvious notion that Jeffrey Lurie has taken a more hands-on role since firing Chip Kelly:
The most recent example of Lurie’s increased level of involvement occurred days after the regular season ended. The New York Jets requested permission to interview Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo for their vacant offensive coordinator position. According to a league source, Lurie stepped in and denied the Jets permission, preventing Pederson from granting the request as his mentor, former Eagles coach Andy Reid, typically had done.
Last offseason, sources say, the decision to re-sign quarterback Sam Bradfordwas driven by Lurie, who has been outspoken about the need to invest heavily in the position.
In December, Pederson revealed another way in which Lurie is more involved. Asked whether Lurie and Howie Roseman, the Eagles’ executive vice president of football operations, had expressed the standard by which they were evaluating his performance, Pederson responded by telling reporters he met weekly with Lurie and Roseman, “and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things, and every week it’s very positive.” Lurie traditionally has huddled with his head coaches immediately after games for quick macro discussions – and continues to do so with Pederson — but holding an in-depth weekly meeting is a new practice.
Gulp. Lurie catches a lot of shit in Philly because he’s [different] [refined] [super liberal] [rich] [aloof] [greedy]– insert whichever you choose. But I’ve never understood the criticism that he doesn’t want to win. The Eagles are many things, but cheap isn’t one of them. And they’re always competitive, unlike the Dallas Cowboys, who have won only two playoff games in 20 years– no one would tell you that Jerry Jones is cheap or doesn’t want to win. But Jones is also a cautionary tale for what happens when an owner becomes too involved. They become both the most powerful person in the room and the least experienced in the particular subject matter (like Donald Trump, or just about all of his cabinet picks). That creates a situation where the least informed voice often has or influences the final decision.
Lurie pushing for the Eagles to re-sign Sam Bradford – who was traded away once a better option presented itself – sounds a lot like Ed Snider pushing for Ilya Bryzgalov. And indeed, both players had portions of their salaries paid by the Eagles and Flyers, respectively, after they left. It’s like a market correction for meddling owners.
I’m not gonna sit here and bash Lurie. He was obviously hurt by what Chip did to his team, both on and off the field, and I’m sure his intentions are good. He obviously wants to win. But if the turmoil in the Eagles’ front office over the past 6-7 years is any indication, Lurie is not a particularly strong leader, and the thought of him being involved in personnel decisions reminds me of David Montgomery wanting to keep Jimmy Rollins around because he was his favorite player… but now we’re getting into other comparisons and I think we can just shut it down here.
The chants. The song. The GM.
For a long time, I’ve been placing Ben Simmons’ on-court debut right after the All-Star Break. Chris Haynes of ESPN is now reporting that my guess was probably right… or wrong:
Philadelphia 76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.
Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility that Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.
He could hit the floor then as long as there’s not a setback but could also still miss the whole season. There’s a chance he’s back near March or in February. OK. Haynes stressed that the Sixers want to be “cautionary” and “delicate,” like Channing Tatum in a Nicholas Sparks movie. But really, we don’t know any more than we did.
GET OUT OF HERE! The Sixers beat the Raptors, 94-89. They’ve won 5 of their last 6, 7 of their last 9… and they’re six games out of a playoff spot.
Joel Embiid put up 26 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in 26 minutes. But it was Dario Saric who went balls-forward down the stretch after being yelled out by Brett Brown to “fucking move!”:
A few minutes later, he fucking BLOCKED: Continue Reading
This is intriguing.
Hulu says its new streaming service will focus heavily on sports. Here’s what their CEO Mike Hopkins told Ad Week:
“CBS has the No. 1 network [in ages] 18-54, and they have a lot of really great programming. We’re going to make this a sports-centric offering, and if you’re going to make that part of your package, you have to have NFL, you have to have the complete March Madness package and all of the other great sports that they have. We thought it would be important to have the big four broadcasters, and CBS certainly rounds that package out for us.”
Hulu will also have Disney, FOX and Time Warner channels. Hopkins says he also expects NBC Universal programming to be included.
The way I see it, for something to be successful as a sport-focused product, it needs to have three levels of content:
- The networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX), because they still broadcast a number of major sporting events, most notably football.
- ESPN, because they still have the rights to major events, and to a lesser extent NBC Sports and FOX Sports.
- Regional sports networks. A majority of sports viewing is people watching their local team. Without CSN and other regional sports networks, anything posing as a sport-focused entity is a non-starter.
Playstation Vue already offers all of these things. Now it looks like Hulu will offer them as part of their (surprise!) bundle.