Report: Sixers Nearing a Deal with Kris Humphries

Kevin Love - September 22, 2017

The Sixers look to be bringing journeyman power forward/center Kris Humphries to training camp, according to the Vertical’s Shams Charania.

Humphries is 32 and coming off a season with the Atlanta Hawks during which he had played in 56 games, averaging 12.3 minutes per game, with 4.6 points and 3.7 rebounds. (Per 36: 13.4 PPG, 10.8 RBG)

My initial reaction:

Considering the logjam in the front court, this could mean a few things:

  1. A Jahlil Okafor trade is imminent
  2. Joel Embiid is not going to be ready for the start of the season
  3. The Sixers want some extra bodies in training camp, and frontcourt insurance for the start of the season

I would venture to guess it is somewhere close to option 3. Embiid has yet to cleared for 5-on-5 play, and even if he is in the near future, Brett Brown probably plans on giving him a light workload during training camp.

The soon-to-be signing doesn’t send me into a panic over Joel, but it does make me skeptical about the progression of his health. With that being said, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Humphries does not make the regular season roster. On this roster, Humphries would serve as a back-end rotation big, but the Sixers already have a few of those. Amir Johnson is a much better player than Humphries, Richaun Holmes has more potential, and the front office pretty blatantly stated that they would like to get Okafor some more exposure for the trade market.

The Sixers also agreed to a deal to bring on Jacob Pullen, the former Kansas State star who has spent a lot of time overseas. Pullen figures to be a camp body and G-league stash.

Going Deep: Carson Wentz Could Become a Statistical Star Before Long, and Other Week 3 Fantasy Football Talk

Jim McCormick - September 22, 2017

The Eagles are 14th in the league in points per drive, revealing a middle-of-the-pack offense. Beyond this macro metric, we find the Birds set with some impressive advanced data. They are second in the league with a third-down conversion clip of 55.2%, well ahead of the league average rate of 40.4% through this small early-season sample. They are also sixth in first downs and have the second-lowest rate of three-and-outs in the league through two weeks.

There’s clearly some evidence of an ascendant offense, yet we must also recognize the sluggish portion of Philly’s portfolio; the Eagles have converted just half of their six red-zone trips into touchdowns (tied for 16th in the league)– they were 24th in the league last season with a red zone efficiency rate of 49.1% (percentage of touchdowns per red zone trip).

The Eagles scored a touchdown on 18% of their drives last season, good for 22nd in the NFL and just ahead of the Bears and Jaguars. They have scored a touchdown on 17.4% of their drives this season. That’s just not good enough to earn a meaningful, upper-echelon points-per-drive rate. I think of per-drive production as the on-base percentage for offensive football success; isolating offensive efficiency with a simple formula.

The sample is entirely tiny this season, but in order for the Eagles’ offense to prove potent, red zone efficiency needs to approach league average (was 55.6% last season). That, or they need to hit more home runs in the vertical passing game. I’m thinking verticality is where the ceiling—or best-case outcome—is with this offense.

The fantasy angle threaded into this discussion of Philly’s scoring efficiency comes from Carson Wentz’s right arm—he’s averaging 11.26 air yards per throw, second only to Jameis Winston. Continue Reading

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Will We Ever Escape The Sixers’ Groundhog Day?

Coggin Toboggan - September 22, 2017

January 2017: Joel Embiid “feels great” after injury to knee, will only miss a few games.

Then put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb…

February 2017: Joel Embiid has a torn meniscus, but he won’t need surgery.

Then put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb…

March 24, 2017: Embiid’s meniscus repair surgery went just fine.

Then put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb…

Sept. 20, 2017: Embiid is progressing, but he’s not ready for 5-on-5

Then put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb…

Sept. 21, 2017: Jahlil Okafor will have every chance to play while being shopped by the 76ers.

Where have we heard this before? Embiid is hurt and the Sixers don’t know when, or if, he’ll be a full-go. Okafor is in the best shape of his life and he’ll have every opportunity to play so he can be dealt to the highest bidder.

Didn’t this all happen last year? And the year before? And the year before that? Did Embiid hurt his knee bowling in the offseason, or was that someone else? When does it end? Will it ever end? Will we all be living the same tortured season year in and year out for the rest of our lives? It’s possible we will.

God that is depressing.

I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last the rest of your life.

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Your Friday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - September 22, 2017

The Phillies lost to the Dodgers 5-4. If you’ve been someone that hasn’t followed the Phillies since June, this shouldn’t be a surprise to you. The Phils lost to the best team in baseball, not a shock.

But dig deeper into that 61-92 record and you see the Phillies have actually been good since the All-Star break. They’ve gone 32-34 overall and 18-15 in their last 33. They went 29-58 in the first half.

During that stretch, the Phillies have lost their title as baseball’s worst team, which now belongs to the San Francisco Giants by a game. They’re close to leapfrogging the White Sox and Tigers as well, and are four-and-a-half games behind the Mets for fourth in the NL East.

A big reason for this surge has been the arrival of their highly-touted prospects. And throughout this Dodger series, they played a huge role in the team’s three wins.

Monday night, Aaron Altherr hit the first grand slam home run Clayton Kershaw ever gave up. Rhys Hoskins hit a bases-clearing three RBI double Tuesday night and batted in another run. Altherr was clutch once against the following game, thanks to a game-tying homer in the seventh, followed by a two RBI single.

Yesterday, Hoskins, who started at first base, and Nick Williams drove in all four runs the Phillies would score, while J.P. Crawford drew three walks.

We saw a glimpse of what the 2018 Opening Day lineup could be. No Tommy Joseph. No Maikel Franco. No Cameron Rupp. Cesar Hernandez started at second base, but that could change if Scott Kingery excels in Spring Training.

There’s still plenty of things for the Phillies to fix, especially their pitching. But it’s been a long time since the team was fun to watch. And thanks to the prospects, they’ll be fun to watch for the final nine games of the season.

That starts tonight with the team’s final road series of the season against the Atlanta Braves at 7:35. Ben Lively goes on the mound against Sean Newcomb.

The Roundup: Continue Reading

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Crossing Broadcast: Embiid’s Knees and The Under

Kyle Scott - September 22, 2017

Kyle, Adam and Russ discuss Joel Embiid’s injury, Eagles-Giants and the lines. Continue Reading

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A winless Matt Rhule is still the right coach for Baylor

Kevin Kinkead - September 21, 2017

Baylor football may very well go 0-12 this year, depending what happens on November 4th in Lawrence, Kansas.

Circle that one on your calendar. It’s Bears vs. Jayhawks for ninth place in the Big 12 Conference, a matchup between the movable object and the stoppable force.

It’s sad to think about because I really like Matt Rhule.

My first interaction with the Baylor head coach was two years ago while working at CBS 3. I was producing “Sports Zone” at the time, the half-hour special that aired on Sunday nights after the late news.

Rhule had just started his third Temple season with a 27-10 home win against Penn State, which was probably the biggest victory of his nascent head coaching career. He did every interview that weekend, from ESPN, to the Associated Press and Action News and all of the local papers. Rhule didn’t have to make time for us, but he did, showing up in person at 9 p.m. the night after the game to tape a segment for our 11:35 p.m. show. I took him to our studio after he got off the elevator and we spent 10 minutes just bullshitting about college football in general. He seemed like a grounded and genuine person.

Ask around and you’ll hear similar stories about Rhule, who left for Baylor after taking the Owls from 2-10 to 10-4. The guy made college football relevant in a parochial pro sports town. We had College Gameday on Independence Mall, for Christ’s sake.

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The Sixers and Opposite Ends of the Spectrum, Part 1: A Realistic Worst-Case Scenario

Kevin Love - September 21, 2017

The Sixers over/under win total for the 2017-2018 season currently sits at 40.5.

That’s an extreme jump from the 27.5 over/under win total heading into last season.

It’s an impressive number, considering that the 13-game year-to-year difference (plus or minus) is second only to the Houston Rockets’ 15-game difference (41.5 to 56.5). There’s obvious reason for the expected win increase, but I won’t exhaust you with that.

The tricky thing about using that 40.5 number to project the Sixers’ performance this season, for fans and degenerates alike, is that the team leaves the door open for a wide range of variance. Joel Embiid playing 40 games versus Joel Embiid playing 62 games could be a difference of seven, eight, nine, or more wins. Lineup experimentation could force the Sixers to play two or three months of basketball before they finally “figure it out.” Ben Simmons could light the league on fire right out of the gate, or he could struggle mightily with turnovers and become exposed as a poor shooter.

With so many factors surrounding this team’s potential, let’s focus on an extreme, while being realistic. 

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Joe Paterno Was Just a Creature of College Football’s Toxic Culture

Tim Reilly - September 21, 2017

The latest Joe Paterno story slipped into the news cycle two Saturdays ago, nestling itself between the ongoing revelry of a new college football season and the impending calamity of Hurricane Irma.

Given the distractions that presented themselves that weekend, you would be forgiven if you missed it, or, more likely, quickly digested the lede before moving on to the next article.

After all, the Penn State scandal is yesterday’s news. Jerry Sandusky is in prison. Two former PSU administrators and the school’s ex-president received jail sentences for their roles in the cover-up. Paterno is dead, his legacy in tatters outside the Happy Valley bubble. The university has paid millions of dollars in settlements to Sandusky victims.

There are fresh tragedies for the public to consume. Frankly, some of us have even become so inured to atrocity that we’ve lost our capacity for outrage.

However, the primary revelation contained within Sara Ganim’s recent CNN offering should require us all to read past the headline and pause – not for anger – but for introspection.

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