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Pre-Draft Workouts: Lonnie Walker, Miles Bridges, and Shake Milton

Kevin Kinkead - June 11, 2018

Lonnie Walker grew up a Sixers fan but doesn’t remember much about the 2000-2001 squad.

“I was only two years old. You kind of have to recollect those moments when you get older.”

All laughs from the Reading High School product, a 6’4″ shooting guard who spent Monday morning working out for the Sixers with five other NBA draft prospects. Among them were top-15 projection Miles Bridges, second round projection Shake Milton, and a group of forwards in Drew Eubanks, Nuni Omut, and Jared Nickens.

We only saw about 15 minutes of the session as it wrapped up. Walker spent that portion working with Bridges and Milton on the near court, going through a variety of 1v1 exercises, this one a simple perimeter close out drill:

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“Anything’s on the Table” – GM Brett Brown on Draft Night Strategy

Kevin Kinkead - June 11, 2018

The Sixers brought in a half-dozen prospects for pre-draft workouts on Tuesday, among them top-15 projections in Lonnie Walker and Miles Bridges.

But the big story, I think, is still Brett Brown in his new interim general manager role, an unfamiliar platform for him to stand on just ten days out from the draft.

Brown spoke to the media for 15 minutes after the workout and reiterated that he’s got a good group of people around him, a collection of basketball minds that will provide decision making “firepower” this summer. To that end, he says he’s comfortable handling trade offers and other negotiations and won’t be conservative going into the draft.

“Nah, I think anything’s on the table,” Brown said. “I think anything is on the table. I feel like we will be bold, we will be smart. Nobody is going into this with any other attitude than we will do our homework and we’ll be aggressive. I feel like the firepower, again, so that I’m clear, the firepower I have around me, and I’m in the role that you guys know – we have Marc Eversley leading the scouts, we have ownership that studies this, I think Alex Rucker and Ned Cohen are great. It’s stuff you spitball and go through, but nobody is going into this conservative. There will be an attitude and a boldness that if we feel we have to do something and it’s smart, then that’s what we’ll do.”

That’s good to hear, but any concerns from you, the fan? Do you feel comfortable with a head coach and a group of player-personnel executives handling the salary cap, agent talks, and trade negotiations? What happens if someone makes an offer for pick #10? It’s all worth thinking about.

The Sixers have six selections to work with, so I asked Brown what he was looking for specifically in this draft, and he gave a sort of non-answer while alluding to wing depth.

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MMA Fighter Rags “Filthadelphia Eagles” Over Canceled White House Visit

Kevin Kinkead - June 11, 2018

Colby Covington is what we’d call a “heel.”

The guy is a great fighter but a total asshole, a trash-talking former collegiate All-American wrestler who now competes in the UFC’s Welterweight division.

Covington beat Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 225 on Saturday to claim the interim belt and set up a future fight with division champion Tyron Woodley. He used part of his post-fight press conference to slag the Philadelphia Eagles for “disrespecting” the country:

Well, they didn’t kneel for the anthem, but whatever. We’ve been over this before.

Covington said similar stuff about the Eagles (and threw in the Warriors) during weigh-ins:

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Sixers Draft Prospects: #26 Overall

Kevin Kinkead - June 8, 2018

I think we hit on most of the guys who will be available at #10 earlier this week, so let’s go through some of the dudes who might be options at 26.

What are the Sixers looking for with this pick? Assuming you get Mikal Bridges, Miles Bridges, or a combo forward/wing depth type of guy at 10, I think you look for a bench scorer at 26. That seems to be the consensus based on most of the mocks out there, with some familiar names popping up.

I would also keep an eye out for a Joel Embiid backup, but the problem is that this draft is so top-heavy with big men that it creates this gap from the teens to the second round talent-wise. With Deandre Ayton, Jaren Jackson, and Wendell Carter among the top-10 projections, there really isn’t any center who falls into that 20-30 range. Omari Spellman might be available, but he’s seen as a power forward/tweener type at the next level. Mitchell Robinson didn’t play college ball and comes with a lot of question marks, while Robert Williams is probably off the board by then.

With that said, here are some of are some of the scorers who might be worth a look at 26:

Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State)

The 2018 Big Ten player of the year is a 6’7″, 230-ish pound positionless player with a big wingspan.

He’s an athletic swingman, viewed as a 3 and D guy at this level, a Buckeye who scored 19.8 PPG and added 8.7 rebounds during his redshirt junior year. He shot 48% overall and 35.9% from three, but really does a lot of different things well. That sets him up to be the ideal NBA role player, somebody who doesn’t excel at one specific skill necessarily but chips in in a variety of ways. Keep him focused on the defensive end and Brett Brown can mold him into a solid bench guy, someone who can slot in to that small forward role and do the requisite free-flowing offensive and defensive stuff that Robert Covington does.

He isn’t the quickest player out there but has an ideal body type for the next level and gives me a bit of a Mikal Bridges vibe with the way he moves around the court:

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Here’s Video of Markelle Fultz Shooting From His Back

Kevin Kinkead - June 8, 2018

Looks like “Still Balling” was right when she wrote this on Twitter about Markelle Fultz on December 9th:

“The so call mentor tried to force him to change the shot. Tapes have surfaced of the guy making Markelle shooting while sitting on a chair, while on his back on the floor etc. The guy denies it as doesn’t want to say Y was forced out of kid’s life. Y nobody reports this.”

Sure enough, The Render posted this video a short time ago, from Andrew Sharp’s Instagram, which looks to show, well, Fultz shooting on his back on the floor of the George Washington University gym in D.C. –

The video is from April 3rd, 2017, so it predates the NBA draft and summer league. Apparently it was just sitting there on Sharp’s IG this entire time, but I’ve never seen it before.

Thing is, the timeline is funky. The common thought was that Fultz started tweaking his shot sometime after summer league, not before it, because the mechanics looked perfectly fine during his short time on the court out west. Keith Williams, Fultz’s trainer, says he never changed the shot at all. Bryan Colangelo said that he felt like the changes took place sometime in August. 

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Who Replaces Bryan Colangelo?

Kevin Kinkead - June 8, 2018

It’s over.

Lord have mercy. I’m just glad we’re moving this thing forward.

If you listened to yesterday’s press conference with Brett Brown and Josh Harris, you heard them say that there will be no hard deadline on the hiring of a new general manager. One month? Six weeks? Who knows.

In my mind, I think you give yourself 4-5 weeks to get this done, which would allow Brown to run the draft process, then cede free agency and contract negotiations to the new player-personnel executive, who comes in during the first week of July. I don’t know if there’s enough time to conduct a proper search and make a choice by July 1st, but this is priority number one. You gotta get it started and finished right now, and you bet your arse people are lining up to take a job where you would be overseeing two superstar players with a good chunk of assets and plenty of cap room.

The Sixers’ GM role is very attractive.

Here’s a list of names that come to mind:

David Griffin

Griffin is the former Cleveland GM, the trendy pick because of his relationship with LeBron James. The thought is that you bring him in, he brings LeBron in, and the winning commences.

And before I go any further, I think you have to define what you’re looking for in a GM. Do you want a guy who can lure superstar free agents, someone with connections? Or do you think LeBron and Paul George are making their decisions based solely on the players and the coach? I think it’s the latter, though the former does help. If I’m a free agent looking for a new team, I’m thinking, “hmm.. yes… I would like to earn $25 million playing alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.”

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Game of Zones: Bryan Long Collars

Kevin Kinkead - June 8, 2018

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you gotta wait until next year for the final season. I personally think the series is getting a little weird with zombie dragons and more incest and unrealistic cross-continental travel, but it is high fantasy, after all.

In the meantime, we have Bleacher Report’s “Game of Zones” to keep us busy, and the finale spoofs Bryan Colangelo and the burner accounts.

His segment starts at 4:55, but the whole thing is worth watching:

Brandon Graham Apparently Stripped Tom Brady on a Bum Hammy

Kevin Kinkead - June 7, 2018

Oh yeah, the Eagles practiced today.

Apparently Brandon Graham is even more of a beast than originally thought:

Not sure if you saw the play, but Graham’s strip sack of Tom Brady basically won the Super Bowl for the Eagles.

Here’s the play, just in case you didn’t see it:

Time’s yours.