Joel Embiid rode a stationary bike while his teammates did five-on-five scrimmaging Monday afternoon.
The Sixers center is still limited to half-court 5v5 drills, now 48 hours from the preseason opener against Memphis.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is at the same point as Embiid right now, also limited to 5v5 half-court work.
But the big story on Action News is Markelle Fultz’s shot, and whether or not the rookie point guard is doing the right thing by experimenting with some different mechanics during preseason.
I asked Brett Brown if we’re reading too much into it.
“Yea,” Brown said bluntly. “Everybody’s looking into it. It’s shocking to me. He’s a young guy that’s coming into the league and trying to make improvements, and all the other stuff that he does, people just really find interest in this (topic). In some ways, I don’t completely not understand it, but I feel like all the guys have had issues with trying to grow their game. Developing Markelle, for me, is obviously huge and we will continue to work on his shot.”
Brown pointed out last week that the tweaks were something Fultz himself started. Fultz said he was only experimenting.
CNN’s Van Jones might call this story a “nothingburger,” but we’ll see how Fultz shoots the ball on Wednesday and Friday.
As for Ben Simmons, he picked up where he left off following Sunday’s scrimmage:
Ben Simmons in transition pic.twitter.com/J6cIXD9cZ1
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) October 2, 2017
Points of Education
Retired referee Joey Crawford was in the house Monday to go over some of the NBA’s 2017-2018 rule changes with Sixers players and coaches.
This is the “points of education” video that the league releases each fall. Some of this year’s tweaks involve contact and continuation, to provide clarity for what will be shooting and non-shooting fouls. Another point of emphasis is the defensive closeout, which can now result in a flagrant foul (i.e. Zaza Pachulia injuring Kawhi Leonard) and will be judged on six points of criteria.
The 2017-18 Points of Education https://t.co/FfDIQ33lHP
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) September 29, 2017
“I had seen all of them in Chicago when I went to the annual coaching convention a few weeks ago,” Brown said. “I think the league does a good job of zooming in on what the players (come up with). The players are smart; they take a rule and they manipulate it to benefit them. The clever side of the offensive players in our league just annually shows itself and they learn how to manipulate things to their advantage. We just went through some things that they’re going to adjust from last year and try to educate our players on how to deal with it and maybe even exploit it.”
Another change is the reduction in the amount of timeouts, from 18 to 14. All team timeouts will be 75 seconds this season and free throw shooters can be hit with a delay of game violation for walking past the three-point line between shots.
“Every time you come in here, you see we’re going overboard just trying to get situations right,” Brown explained. “You have less chance to call a time out and make everybody perfect. People have to react on the fly now. The method to the league’s madness, and we agree, is that the game too slow. There’s too much stop/start, even something subtle just like too much cheerleading after a free throw, or the free throw shooter walking back past the three-point line is going to be changed. It’s gonna be a delay of game. That, and less time outs, equal a faster paced game. For me, you just have to go overboard from a situation perspective so they’re organized to get into stuff themselves and don’t need to be brought over to a sideline and something drawn up all the time.”
“He hasn’t cried once”
Jahlil Okafor participated in Sunday’s scrimmage after being cleared for full practice participation late last week.
He looked pretty good overall, moving well with a healed knee and a lighter frame after switching to a vegan diet and losing weight over the summer.
“I felt good,” Okafor said. “I was happy to be out there, a lot of fun playing in front of the fans. Myself, I felt solid. I felt solid. My knee was a little sore before the game, but once I got going it warmed up. After the fact, it felt fine. I just got ice and got treatment. This morning when I woke up there was a little bit of soreness, but once I got going and got warmed up and dusted myself off, it was fine.”
Okafor has been the subject of trade rumors for some time now. His form dipped in his second Sixers season and he was eventually shut down with that knee issue.
Sunday, he got a nice pop from the crowd on a couple of occasions.
“It was great to hear,” he said. “Obviously I’ve been through a lot. One thing I tried to do in the offseason was just lose weight and come in looking the right way. I think they ere just showing their appreciation of that. I’m just gonna do everything I can to help the team this year.”
“I think he’s great,” Brown added. I have so much, sort of personal affection for him and respect for the way that he’s handled some things. He hasn’t cried once. He comes in, he’s a hell of a teammate, he’s put in the work as his body tells all of us. He’s backing himself, and he should; he’s Jahlil Okafor. He has handled things very maturely and like a pro. I’ve got a real soft spot for Jahlil.”
Jahlil Okafor back in action pic.twitter.com/mv8U5aC6EA
— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) October 1, 2017