So the double bird flashing doctor should be thanking Sevyn – SEVYN – this morning, because her “We Matter” shirt controversy went national in a hurry and buried the Russell Westbrook salute to Philly fan lore and kept it away from being the main topic of every national sports talk radio show today. Maybe. Leggo: Continue Reading
As Joel Embiid was on the road to his first 20 point game since high school, Sam Hinkie’s twitter mentions were coming fast and furious. Continue Reading
Tonight’s season opener at The Center was off to a quick, loud start and carried into a tight, contested loss. Let’s take a look at some highlights: Continue Reading
A Sixers dancer absolutely CRUSHED the National Anthem, but if you’re wondering why a dancer was singing at the home opener, it might be because Singer Sevyn – SEVYN – was apparently supposed to sing it but was told she couldn’t because she was wearing a “We Matter” shirt. She’s not happy about it:
Tough spot here for the Sixers. Sevyn is an invited guest being given a large stage and that’s probably not the best time to try to make a statement– this wasn’t about her or her message, whatever it may have been. But this won’t play well. When the NFL has openly accepted Black Lives Matter demonstrations, it makes little sense for an NBA team(!) to take a stand against them.
So aggressive. I kind of like it.
I’M ACTUALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO A SIXERS GAME.
Joel Embiid told Lee Jenkins of SI.com’s The Crossover in an excellent profile today that he almost quit basketball over a hit piece from SI.com’s The Cauldron:
Last October, the day before the first anniversary of Arthur’s death, The Cauldron ran a distressing story about Embiid’s arduous rehab. Ensuing headlines focused on his exaggerated affection for Shirley Temples. You’d have thought he was chugging Moonshine laced with grenadine. Upset by both timing and content, Embiid considered quitting the NBA and returning to Cameroon, where he could honor his brother in peace. Maybe he’d go back to volleyball, his first chosen sport. His father had warned him about the dangers of hoops.
Phew. I can only imagine the anti-Hinkie takes had Embiid pulled a Steve Nebraska on everyone. Luckily, he continued to TRUST THE PROCESS HEYYYYYYYYO.
Jenkins’ profile of Embiid is otherwise excellent and a must-read, and it includes the fascinating anecdote that Embiid learned to shoot from watching white people, which you can apparently do online:
He is engaging, charismatic and funny, but unlike many foreign big men, his humor is intentional. “You know how I learned to shoot?” Embiid says. “I watched white people. Just regular white people. They really put their elbow in and finish up top. You can find videos of them online.”
I found one:
Read the full thing here.
All right, if tomorrow has finally arrived – and that’s debatable, too – what gain came from the pain?
There are a few obvious answers. Hinkie traded away his starting point guard to get big man Nerlens Noel with the first draft. The team tanked hard enough to pick up Joel Embiid, another big man, in the next draft and maneuvered to get Dario Saric later in the lottery. More tanking led to Jahlil Okafor, yet another center, in Hinkie’s final draft, and the 10-72 coda to the Hinkie era allowed the team to select Ben Simmons with the top pick last April.
So, that’s the easy way to look at 47-199 in three seasons: Noel, Embiid, Saric, Okafor, and Simmons. Every other player on the roster, every other asset large or small, could have been obtained with a more traditional approach.
It’s not nothing. In fact, the haul is impressive. It just isn’t a basketball team.
I truly, genuinely don’t get how otherwise intelligent people can continue not to see what the Sixers are doing. It blows my mind that Ford – and Jerardi, and Hayes, and talking heads before him – don’t understand that the whole point of tanking, or rebuilding, is to be bad to get good. We tend to view every season as a zero sum game – either you can win, or you’re shit – and dismiss the healthy, natural middle ground that is progress, or the process, if you will.
Now look, I’m not championing mediocrity – I’ve spent the last three years blogging it – but what the Sixers are doing is wholly different. IT MIGHT NOT WORK! Sure. But dismissing Embiid, Okafor, Simmons, Noel and Saric and not grasping that guys like them are literally the reason why Sam Hinkie and the Sixers (he wasn’t just doing this on his own) tanked is maddeningly moronic. The very early returns on Embiid are quite good and, if he remains healthy (a big IF), he could turn into a dominant NBA player. Simmons is widely considered to be one of the best prospects of the last five years. Okafor and Noel will be starting caliber big men in the league for a long time, and one of them is a trade chip and maybe even a street fighter. And Saric is a high-upside guy with endearing facial hair and a chick-bait accent. Those are not only the literal building blocks of a winning team, but they are three of the top six rotation pieces, including maybe the first and second. Four years ago, the Sixers had a mis-shapen mess of middling NBA players and counted Andre Iguodala, a terrific role player, as their centerpiece. They were rudderless and devoid of any sort of cap prudence and, quite frankly, had no idea what the fuck they were doing, as evidenced by the Andrew Bynum signing. Now they have a direction, a core, and a potential superstar in Simmons.
Yes, the Sixers don’t have a team now, but that doesn’t matter. When Bryan Colangelo said it was time to start winning, he didn’t mean the NBA championship, this year. He meant, like, improvement from the no-effort of the last three years. He meant it was time to start building a team around these pieces. That, too, could take a few years, but if Embiid and Simmons prove to be as advertised, it won’t be long until the Sixers can lure a big-name free agent to town. Sprinkle in a shooter, defender, and a pinch of CUMIN, and you have a team. Why is this so difficult to comprehend?