ESPN is in Philadelphia today for the “All Access” look at your 76ers.
We didn’t learn anything Earth-shattering from the wall-to-wall media coverage, but there were some interesting quotes and nuggets that I wanted to highlight here, beginning with JJ Redick, who did a live hit with Kevin Negandhi on Sports Center this morning:
on the “Process,” which he originally did not support –
“I feel like I joined the Process at the right time. I was not ready to be a part of the Process four years ago. I think, as a competitor, you want to see every team in the NBA try to be competitive. I guess I was just outspoken about the idea of tearing something down and rebuilding it. But I’ve definitely changed my perspective on that over the last few years and have seen how well this has worked. This franchise is positioned, for a long time, to be highly competitive, and I kind of joined it at what I felt was the right time.”
on his defense, which Joel Embiid jokingly said he expected to be “trash” –
“Well, first of all, I think Jo plays video games all day. I don’t think he watches the NBA. So I think his opinion of my defense was probably based on some stereotypes. But I’ve always felt like I’ve been a pretty good team defender. I’ve had different challenges throughout my career in terms of guarding primary scorers, and over the last 4 or 5 years I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of guarding my position. This year, with the way our starting lineup is, it’s sort of been a new challenge, because a lot of times I’ve had to guard other team’s starting point guards, because of our size, and me being the smallest player out there. It’s been a challenge but I feel like I’ve done a good job.”
on being a foodie –
“We have basically a five star restaurant in our practice facility. The Sixers poached a top chef here from Philly. Him and his staff, they cook us gourmet meals for lunch and breakfast. I usually get post game (meals) at a place called Vernick (Food and Drink) here in Philly, which has won a James Beard award. This is going to sound weird, but my main food that I always eat on game day is beets. Red beets, golden beets, it doesn’t matter, I always eat beets on game day. Apparently it’s good for your oxygen levels in your blood.”
— NBA (@NBA) December 15, 2017
Joel Embiid appeared live on “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith, who was broadcasting from the Camden practice facility.
on Ben Simmons’ hesitation to shoot the ball –
“His game is about driving to the basket and scoring in the paint. If he doesn’t feel comfortable shooting threes he should just stick to his game and that’s what I like about him. He’s not going to try to force anything. He knows that he’s a pass-first point guard and he has an opportunity to score the ball, that’s what he’s going to do, too. This is his first year playing. He’s going to get better and at some point I think it’s going to reach that level where he can actually be comfortable taking threes.
on his favorite big man growing up –
“Gotta go with Hakeem. I started playing basketball because of him and Kobe. Just the way they move, the footwork, it was just so attractive. That’s what made me want to start playing basketball in 2011. I got the opportunity to play basketball and I feel like, by watching them I can.. not steal their moves but just see the way they move and kind of put that in my game.”
Stephen A then questioned Embiid on his nickname, explaining that he dislikes the moniker of “The Process.”
Embiid: “I know you don’t like the process, but you’ve got to trust the process. It’s time for you to trust the process.”
Smith: “I’m not saying I don’t trust the process, but why do you have to have that name?”
Embiid: “It’s a long story. We’ve been through so much over the last four years and I know people out there are like, ‘that took a lot of losing.’ When we’re on the court, we want to win games. We don’t go out trying to lose games. It was unfortunate that in the two years I missed, we lost a lot of games. But I just felt like I needed to embrace it because I felt like it was kind of ‘me.’ I missed two years and we weren’t able to win and I felt like I had a chance to help the team and I wasn’t able to. I felt like I wanted to embrace it and be the guy who brings the energy back to Philly. People are so passionate here and I wanted to be that guy. That’s why I took the nickname. You better start trusting the process.”
In fairness, Smith has been consistent with his dislike for the Sam Hinkie in general.
— Ham Sinkie (@HamSinkie) December 15, 2017
Smith also asked Embiid about his social media use and faux-beefs, which resulted in a pair of cuss words that were not bleeped out:
“First of all, I don’t ever start things. If you look at it, I don’t ever say anything first. People don’t know that. It might start in the game, guys being extra physical and just talking and I’m just going with the flow. ‘Oh, you wanna talk? You wanna talk shit? I’m gonna kick your ass. So, I never start things. When you look at it, beef on social media, people (say stuff to me first). I don’t ever start things. I just go with the flow. If you want those problems, that’s your fault.”
The video, for your enjoyment:
“You want to talk shit, so I’m gonna kick your ass” pic.twitter.com/0PCqIPDsL8
— Kyle Scott (@CrossingBroad) December 15, 2017
Speaking of ass kicking, Embiid is gonna do that to Manchester United star Paul Pogba in FIFA:
— ESPN (@espn) December 15, 2017
Doris Burke’s interviews with Bryan Colangelo and Ben Simmons were clunkers, not because of anything she did, but because Ben doesn’t say much and Colangelo doesn’t reveal much. No surprises there.
Scott O’Neill did have some interesting things to say on the radio. I missed his morning appearance but caught the afternoon hit on the Ryen Russillo show:
on organizing 3 p.m. pickup basketball with staffers before Sixer games –
“That is 100% true. We could use another slow shooting guard that plays very little defense.”
on the transition from Sam Hinkie to Bryan Colangelo –
“It was hard. I don’t know how to put it in words or articulate it fairly enough. But it was excruciating pressure from the media, from agents, from players, the coaching staff, players from in and around the league, our friends from the game of basketball, and our fans here. The most misused word around Philadelphia and the basketball community is ‘process.’ But the process has not been about losing, not one single day. The process is about winning. And the process doesn’t end. You know, I hear so many people say, is the process over? No. The process isn’t going to be over until we’re traipsing down Broad Street. And, even then, I guess that would be just the beginning. But it was very, very difficult and we had some difficult days. And when you walk in here, in this office, you just found a bright light. It was when we stepped outside or had to tackle or read the media or talk to friends or walk into a family barbecue, that’s when it got dicey and uncomfortable. But we’ve had a strong resolve as to what we were trying to accomplish. We understood what we walked into. We had our eye on the prize since day one.”
The team also revealed a sweet statue of Mo Cheeks outside of the practice complex:
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) December 15, 2017
The cameras have been all over the place during the last 36 hours, so we’ll see how the Sixers look when they actually hit the floor tonight.