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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

K.J. McDaniels block causes a concussion

Check out the original story from Philly.com, here.
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Fans attending NBA games have relatively little to worry about. They don’t generally have to be concerned with objects flying at their face like in baseball, and they aren’t subject to Mother Nature as most attending NFL games are.

Aside from another Ron Artest-like event, NBA fans haven’t had too much impinge on their live enjoyment of the game. Then came K.J. McDaniels.

Image from Yahoo.com
McDaniels, who was selected by the Sixers in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft, is quickly becoming a fan favorite in Philadelphia, due largely to his ability to block and alter shots as a perimeter player. 

McDaniels leads all rookies with 1.57 blocks per game, and he is able to energize a crowd with the sheer ferocity of his blocks. This is good news for the Sixers, who were happy to secure someone so defensively dedicated in the second round. It may not be great news for those attending Sixers games however, as McDaniels’ blocks apparently cause actual injury.

On one particular play in Toronto in November, McDaniels found himself as a weak-side help defender as Raptors’ point guard Greivis Vasquez drove down the lane to the basket.

McDaniels came across the paint as Vasquez went up with the shot and volleyball-spiked it out of bounds. It looked cool, but apparently the block caused a concussion upon impact!

“I surprised myself,” McDaniels told Sports Illustrated’s Rob Mahoney of the block. “There was a lady who got hit by the ball who got a concussion, I believe,” McDaniels said.

 Ouch. Imagine that. You’re just sitting there minding your business, catching some casual NBA basketball on a Sunday, and next thing you know you get the ball spiked at your head with such velocity that is causes a concussion.

Upon hearing of the result of his highlight-reel block, McDaniels sent flowers to the woman.

Here is video of the block:

Michael Carter-Williams left off of ESPN's top 25 under 25 list

Check out the original article, from Philly.com, here.
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Recently, ESPN released a list ranking the top 25 players in the NBA under the age of 25. The list was chalk full of young studs and franchise cornerstones like Anthony Davis, Demarcus Cousins, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, and Paul George, as well as up-and-comers like Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, and Julius Randle.

Even Sixers center Joel Embiid, who has yet to suit up this season, cracked the list. He was featured fairly highly, number 14, for someone yet to play professionally. ESPN supported their placement of Embiid by pointing to his potential.

                “Embiid projects to be a tremendous two-way player with great size and agility combined with genuine passion to compete. He has all the markings of a true franchise center, though long-term health is an issue.”

Injury issues aside, Embiid’s play during his short stint at Kansas earned him a lot of respect. Also from ESPN:

Image from slamonline.com
                “He hasn’t played a game and is recovering from injury, but his placement this high should speak to how respected his talent level is. I’ve never seen a player improve as much in as short a time as Embiid did during his short collegiate career.”

Such high praise for the young man is a solid sign for the Sixers.

Embiid however was the only Sixer represented on the list. Noticeably left off of it was reigning Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, as well as Nerlens Noel. 

Noel, only 21 games into his career may not have yet shown enough to solidify a spot. 

Carter-Williams however is coming off of an impressive rookie campaign that highlighted the versatility of his game, and is continuing his solid play into his second season. Carter-Williams is currently sixth in the NBA in assists per game, despite not having the world’s most talented teammates to dish it off to.

At 23 with only a single season under his belt, Carter-Williams is a bit older than some others on the list. Like the others however, he also has a lot of time for improvement, and in a little over a season he has proven to be one of the league’s top young talents, list or no list.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Andrei Kirilenko trade smart for Sixers

Check out the original article from Philly.com, here.
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Regardless of if Andrei Kirilenko plays a single second for the Sixers this season, the trade the team made to acquire him from Brooklyn was a smart move.

For Brooklyn the move was all about shedding salary. The Nets are desperately trying to trade away some salary and potentially gain back some assets, as the franchise’s immediate future looks bleak at this point. Kirilenko, 33, is in the final year of a $3.3 million contract, and the Nets save close to $12 million in luxury tax by unloading him.

In return, the SIxers also received Jorge Guitterez, a 2020 second round pick, cash considerations, and the right to swap 2018 second-round picks. That is a pretty sizable haul, and all it cost the Sixers was a fringe-NBA player in Brandon Davies.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sixers/Nets discussing trade involving Andrei Kirilenko

Check out the original article from Philly.com, here.
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The Sixers have a lot of salary cap space, and according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski they are trying to use some of it.
Image from rt.com

According to Wojnarowski, the Sixers are working on a deal with the Nets that would send forward Andrei Kirilenko, who is in the final year of a $3.3 million contract, to Philadelphia.

Unloading Kirilenko’s contract would save Brooklyn close to $12 million in luxury tax, as the team is desperately trying to shed some salary. 

Kirilenko, 33, would be waived by the Sixers.

For the Sixers, the deal would be all about what else they would get in return for taking on Kirilenko’s contract. Wojnarowski reports that the Nets would send a second-round pick along with Kirilenko, and we all know Sam Hinkie is a fan of those second-round picks.

Who the Sixers would send back to Brooklyn is still being discussed, although it would likely be a player on a non-guaranteed contract.

Robert Covington is emerging for the struggling Sixers

Check out the original article in its entirety from Philly.com, here.
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One of the biggest benefits of the Sixers’ current approach to rebuilding is the team’s ability to try out talent for future fit. By taking the emphasis off of individual game results in the present, the Sixers can use their 240 minutes of allotted court time each game to test out and evaluate players; a luxury that contending teams with set rotations cannot afford.

The evaluation through experience allows players an opportunity to show their stuff in the guts of games, not just against backups in the fringe minutes allotted to some young, developing players. Although not all players are able to take advantage of the opportunity. Some play, aren’t seen to be a franchise fit, and are sent on their way. Remember Lorenzo Brown? Dewayne Dedmon? Darius Morris?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Joel Embiid and Steven Adams make a normal-sized man look really small

Joel Embiid and Steven Adams are tall. The man standing directly between them while they were having a post-game chat after the Thunder bested the Sixers in Philadelphia, is not.

Photo taken by Michael Kaskey-Blomain
In reality, the man, who looked very surprised to have his picture taken, was probably of average height. He was just dwarfed by the two NBA big men.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Michael Carter-Williams is putting up some big numbers

Check out the original article from Philly.com, here.
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After a shaky start to his sophomore season, Michael Carter-Williams has been playing some much better ball as of late, and he has been posting some solid statistics.

Image from USAtoday.com
The reigning Rookie of the Year missed the first seven games of the season after being sidelined all summer following shoulder surgery, and his slow start can likely be attributed to rust and getting acclimated to new teammates. Whatever the reason, the Sixers, winners of two out of their last three games – yes you read that right – have been benefiting from Carter-Williams’ return to form and his improved play.

Over the past five games, Carter-Williams set a career-high in assists with 16, had a triple-double once, and flirted with another four times. Over that span he averaged 19.6 points, 12.2 assists, nine rebounds and two steals per contest, while looking much more comfortable on the court and in control of the offense. 

“I’m getting that feeling back,” he stated after a game last week, before crediting his teammates for his increasing assist numbers.

“[My teammates] are doing a great job,” he explained. “They’re getting to the rim, finishing, knocking down shots.”

The emergence of Robert Covington has helped. Covington, who was the top pick of the most recent D-League Draft, has averaged 21 points per over the past three, and shown himself to be a legitimate offensive option.

“They’re in the right position,” Carter-Williams continued. “My job is just to find them when they’re open.”

Carter-Williams makes it sound easy, but pioneering the struggling Sixers has been a challenge, especially for someone that ‘hates losing’ like Carter-Williams often says he does. 

Check out the rest of the article here