Might be hard to believe, but the Sixers’ 2019 season is here.
Today is media day, tomorrow marks the start of training camp, and then the annual Blue X White scrimmage takes place Saturday, ahead of the preseason game against China’s Guangzhou Loong Lions.
Here’s your running thread of quotes, notes, tidbits, and anything else relevant that comes out of Camden:
- Individual goals = best the best player I can, help win this team a championship
- Defensively, he says lateral quickness has been a huge emphasis for him, “being able to stay lower, longer.” He’d like to be a better two-way player and spent a lot of time this summer working on that side of the ball.
- There will probably be more pick and roll opportunities for him, but it’s still about motion, movement, passing the ball around the court and playing off each other. “We’re really just out there flowing, whatever that entails.“
- The playoff loss lingered for a long time, “you can’t see it because you guys aren’t around, but you can feel the sense of urgency and hunger in the group of guys that were here last year.” The loss stung but it was a motivating factor for everyone.
- In different spurts, he’s been playing with members of the starting five. “Everybody is open to feedback and criticism, understanding each other’s personalities and games.” He says they wanted to ‘expedite’ learning each other’s games and how each guy operates on the court.
- The potential of this group is “amazing, not only as a team on the floor but also off the court.”
- He worked out with Ben Simmons in Los Angeles: “he’s a gym rat, he was in the gym all summer”
- He didn’t have second thoughts about dropping out of the FIBA World Cup squad. He’ll play this season out and see what happens with the Olympics next year.
- The Team USA decision was about resting and making sure his foot was 100% healthy. He didn’t think he’d be 100% game ready to play for the national team.
- No preference playing the 3 or the 4, “they’re obviously different defensively, but offensively when I was playing with the Clippers I was a 3, I came here and played 4, this year I’ll split at both but probably be the majority at the three.”
- he feels like he’s 100% with his back, the pinched nerve that affected him last year and caused him to miss time with the Jazz (he only played 37 games last season)
- the way the Sixers play is “fun to watch” and he’s looking forward to being a part of that, “I’m going to try to be aggressive, try to score the ball, find my teammates in good spots and play hard defense“
- he competed with Trey Burke for a spot in Utah: “It was great for me, my first time in the league having him as a competitor… we competed every day, he’s a great guy and great player.. I don’t think it’s about me against him, we’re all here for the same reason and have the same goals, I want him to play well and do well and I want to play well, too.. I don’t think the mentality is to get the spot from him, of course you’re fighting for minutes and want to play more, but that’s not what my mentality is right now.
- He says he should have been the bigger guy and walked away from the situation with the F Lot Crew, “as far as sympathy for them, I don’t feel any for those individuals.” He says he understands that not all Eagles fans are like that.
- He would be open to “dapping up” the F Lot guys, he says they don’t need to apologize, it just went “to the next level” when they were talking shit. He’d be fine talking to the guys and taking a picture with them, something like that.
- He’s not here to be an enforcer. “When the bullshit happens I just react on that.”
- Kyle O’ Quinn with a question about growing up in the 757: “that’s how I was raised, there ain’t no bitches back there either… I feel like that’s why Philly fans can relate to me“
- Team will be athletic, share the ball, play hard nosed defense. “It’s gonna be fun, we’ll be athletic, switch a lot, one through five.“
Here’s Mike Scott on the fight at the Eagles tailgate. He has some thoughts. pic.twitter.com/24bZkbK9sP
— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) September 30, 2019
- Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are hard workers, he ran into Ben Simmons at the practice facility on Friday night, he’s bumped into Embiid a bunch of times in the gym. “We’re all putting in the work.”
- On playing the four: “just exciting, my 13th year in the league and having a chance to play with a guy like Joel is a dream come true for me, a guy who can do it all on the floor, I believe he’s the best big man in the league right now.“
- “I’m sure he and I will talk” says Horford, when asked if he’ll share information about how he had success guarding him as a Celtics player.
- One of the first things he thought about looking at the roster and this team’s potential was the defensive stoutness. “The way we’re gonna be special is all of us covering for one another… if there’s a mistake we’re gonna cover it and be strong and set a tone on the defensive end.“
- He thinks it’s a versatile group with guys who can play multiple positions, really long team defensively.
- Tomorrow when camp starts they’ll start going over the offense and what Brett Brown specifically wants out of him.
- he learned a lot last year going from the G League to the NBA on a two-way contract, the Sixers were one of the few teams that believed in him
- he’s looking forward to learning from guys like Al Horford and Kyle O’Quinn, veterans who have been around for a while
- trying to work out six times a week including two-a-days, working on ball handling, dribbling, defense, three point shooting, “just trying to become more of a complete player“
- The G League is “a grind, but it’s a good league, a competitive league“
- working on everything this summer, “mainly my body, putting in the right food, open up my hips so I can more stops this year, also working on my three point shot.”
- he loves Philly and felt like last year the team had a good chance but lost on an unlucky balance, thinks this team has a chance to win a title
- he’s also looking forward to playing with Al Horford
- thinks the team is capable of winning a championship
- for him personally, expectations are high, “same as last year, knowing my role, whatever’s needed to win, I think that’s always going to be my mindset, in season two expectations are higher“
- he’s not expecting necessarily to play the 4 or 5 specifically, doesn’t bother him “in the slightest” where he’s played on the floor “it’s moreso how I can fit in with a new team“
- RE: role, it’s about taking advantage of the opportunities given to him, whenever his number is called he’s ready to fill those shoes
- he came to the Sixers knowing that minutes were going to have to be filled
- the 2nd unit has a responsibility to hold it down for the 1st unit
- says he thinks he can use his veteran presence to help younger guys learn about off the floor things like travel, season length, stuff like that
- Tobias Harris has a work-like approach to the game, is a true professional
- wants to show that he can do other things on the court besides just shooting
- hopes to continue to have a chip on his shoulder and keep working, he had motivation while playing overseas and watching the NBA every night from Europe
- He still speaks to Phil Martelli and the coaching staff, said he wasn’t happy with the way St. Joe’s went about removing him from the job
- why come back? – he knows the organization, coaching staff, players, felt familiar, also felt like there was an opportunity with Redick and Butler leaving to earn some wing minutes
- he says he weighs about 203 pounds right now, thinks he needs to be somewhere around 210 but his body fat has come down from 13-14% to 8-9%, says he felt too heavy and too slow when he reached 220 pounds last year
- Sixers fans should expect intensity out of him, a guy who can morph into any role on a nightly basis to give his team the best chance to win
- running back up point guard isn’t a problem for him, he ran point in Miami occasionally and played point guard in college
- Tobias Harris was the first person to call him when the sign and trade with Miami went down
- he met a few times with Ime Udoka to talk about pick and roll defense
- the playoff series in 2018 was a fist fight, really tough for his Miami team to play against
- he’s just getting “really antsy to play at this point”
- (I didn’t catch anything interesting)
- wants to work on defense, being vocal, knowing where to be, communication
- it’s a day to day challenge to get stronger, get better every day
- learning from the veteran bigs, he says he watched Joel Embiid and Al Horford on TV, they’ve been good helping the young guys so far
- he and Embiid both speak French, Joel can help him on and off the floor
- he feels 100% healthy, weighs 207, training getting ready for the season
- thinks the team is athletic and can guard off the bench, a second unit that can get some stops
- summer has been great, lot of travel, he went to a lot of places, worked really hard to get his body right, going into training camp he feels excited
- he’s down 20 pounds from where he was last year, says he’ll hit his health goal when he starts playing basketball in training camp, he lost 25 pounds then gained 5 back
- he’s gonna miss JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler but he thinks now they have time to get to know the new group of players vs. people coming in via trade later in the season
- the tendinitis feels good, has to talk to team about a plan today
- he’s created a trustworthy relationship with Elton Brand, which he didn’t have with “the last GM”
- he’s had conversations with the team regarding load management and how they’ll approach this season
- he has been in contact with the new medical staff since they got here
- he thinks he’ll play more than 64 games this year (which was last year’s total)
- team has good shooters this year but not the type of influence JJ Redick had, “this year I feel like they’re going to make everybody shoot the ball,” says he knows he has to be more than a post player this season
- he played zone for two years of his basketball career only, so he’s not worried about being able to have an impact playing man-to-man, it’s more about getting used to rule variations and NBA talent
- feels like he’s been able to adapt to this level, “it feels like I belong“
- ankle is fine: “I could jump around and show you“
- feels like his roll will be simple: “play defense and hit threes“
- he’s spent basically the entire summer at the Sixers training facility
- just wants to come in and be himself, be a playmaker, “Philly was a desirable destination for me, Elton and Coach Brown called and it just made sense“
- he remembers watching Allen Iverson as a kid, says he was 6 or 7 years old watching him and “doesn’t take it lightly” that he’s now wearing a Sixers uniform
- he says he’s been here for two weeks and there’s a lot of energy, “guys like each other and that’s first and foremost“
- on competing with Raul Neto in Utah: “it’s the nature of this business, there’s always somebody you’re battling with”
- “sky is the limit” for what this team can achieve defensively
- he feels like he’s “locked in” this season, ready, had a huge summer and ready to get back to it
- on the jump shot: “we’ve been working on everything, ball handling, touch, jumpers, floaters, just getting a consistency“
- he was too worried about what was going on around him, too much outside noise and he was able to block that out this summer
- he sat down and thought about what he wanted out of the game, which is a ring, so he needed to “get better and be better”
- he took charge and identified what he needed to do this summer, felt like he had a rhythm in his schedule
- he’s happy to be here for another five years and “doesn’t want to be anywhere else, obviously”
- people will “come and go” within the system but he needs to take more of a leadership role
- his only goal is to win a championship, not really interested in individual accolades – “Giannis would rather have a championship than MVP“
- three point shot is a “part of the game, if it’s open i’ll take it”
- Tobias Harris has been a positive influence on him
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