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Friday, August 1, 2014

76ers' approach inspiring change

Check out the original article from Philly.com in all its long glory, here.
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They’re far from the first team to do it.

There were the 1996 Spurs, and the Nuggets and the Cavaliers in ’03. Then there were the Celtics and Sonics in 2006-07.

No, the Sixers are far from the first team to set themselves up to struggle for a season, they just may have been the most blatant and transparent about their intentions to ‘tank.’

After a decade of being stuck in the NBA’s equivalent of no-mans-land, the Sixers, led by a new, analytically-inclined brain trust, developed a plan that would allow them to utilize the league’s lottery system to their advantage in rebuilding the roster. The plan may require a couple seasons of struggle, but in the NBA if you’re not contending, you should be building, and for a decade plus the team from Philadelphia wasn’t doing either. They were merely existing, trapped in some annual basketball purgatory, where the team was never bad enough to land high enough in the lottery to draft a difference-maker (Evan Turner aside), but never good enough to truly contend.

Being entombed in such a maddening state of mediocrity for so long is one reason that the Philadelphia faithful have been so receptive to Sam Hinkie’s wrecking ball rebuilding plan, even though it has required a couple seasons of sacrifice. Hinkie doesn’t have a long track record of NBA success, but he does have direction.

In the NBA, there are two ways to improve a roster: Through the draft, and through free agency. In the absence of superstars eager to suit up for the struggling Sixers, the organization’s best opportunity to improve is through the draft. More specifically, by landing in the lottery for a few consecutive seasons in order to acquire assets, form a foundation, and establish a deep talent pool.

In a little over a year, the Sixers have begun to do that. Two years in a row they selected potentially the top player in their respective draft classes in Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid. They have Dario Saric, an ultra-talented, multi-faceted forward, stashed overseas, improving his game in Turkey until he is ready to come and contribute to a contender. They have been able to find talent deep in the draft, and in other team’s castaways. K.J. McDaniels, Jerami Grant, and Jordan McRae are popping with potential. Hollis Thompson and Tony Wroten could be nice rotational players. The team has over $30 million in salary cap space for when the time does come to add some formidable free agents. Pieces are in place, and for the first time in a long time, the team appears to be driving in the right direction.

But just as the Sixers begin to figure out an answer, the NBA is looking to reform the question.

4 players Nerlens Noel would benefit learning from

This is a cool concept develop by my colleague Carey Smith at Philadunkia, where four players are picked that current Sixers would benefit learning from. 


Carey posted four players that Tony Wroten would benefit learning from earlier in the week, followed by my ideas for Nerlens Noel. Check out the original article here
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In this era of AAU teams, power agents and social media, many of today's young stars know each other well before they ever hit the NBA hardwood. They are also often exposed, and have access to, some of the game’s greatest former players. Most players today have no problem working out together and learning from each other in the off-season. The approach was a little different in Michael Jordan’s day.

If Nerlens Noel were to take this approach, these are the four players I would like to see him work with and learn from:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The wide open East

The NBA offseason has been busy across the league's landscape with several prominent players relocating, or in LeBron James' case, returning home.

Taking into consideration LeBron's 'announcement', and the resulting shift of power in the Eastern Conference, it seems that the East is wide-open heading into next season. While the Cavaliers may be the on-paper (and Las Vegas) favorites, there are several other squads that could contend to be the Eastern Conference's representative in the NBA Finals. Let's take a look:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

76ers reportedly fighting proposed changes to NBA lottery system

Check out the original article from Philly.com here.
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The NBA has discussed altering its draft lottery system as soon as next season, but they are reportedly receiving some resistance from the team that such a move may affect the most, according to ESPN.

The 76ers, who are facing another struggle of a season in 2014-15, are fighting changes that would balance the lottery odds and work as sort of an ‘anti-tanking’ measure.

As currently constructed, the team that finishes with the league’s worst record has a 25% chance of landing the top pick in the lottery. In the new proposed format, the bottom few teams would all have an equal chance at getting the top pick.

Not surprisingly the Sixers, who are in the midst of a multi-season rebuild dependent on securing high draft picks, are opposed to the proposed changes, and want them delayed by at least a single season.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly interested in Thaddeus Young

Check out the original article from Philly.com here.

Another week, another Thaddeus Young trade rumor.
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The trade rumors just don’t stop circling around Thaddeus Young.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Minnesota Timberwolves are eyeing the multi-faceted forward as a potential replacement for Kevin Love, who has been central in this summer’s trade rumors.

The Timberwolves have been involved in discussions with the Cavaliers about sending Love to Cleveland to team with the recently returned LeBron James. Minnesota has also entertained offers for Love from Golden State and Chicago.

Although the Timberwolves have repeatedly expressed their interest to keep Love in Minnesota, a trade seems likely, if not inevitable, considering that Love could leave as a free agent next summer and the team would get no incoming compensation. By trading Love, at least the Timberwolves would get something in return.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel will be reunited on court this season for the Sixers

Finally. Nerlens Noel had to sit on the sideline for a season, but after over a year of anticipation, he made his debut this summer and showed signs. Good signs.

Sixers' reigning Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, and Noel were AAU teammates back in the day in Boston, and come late October, they will be reunited on the hardwood as they both suit up for the Sixers.

The re-developing chemistry between the two is something to look forward to in another struggle of a season for the Sixers.


The duo might look a little better (and older) in 76ers jerseys.

76ers reportedly interested in Dion Waiters, again

Check out the full, original article from Philly.com here.

The Sixers just can't shake these Dion Waiters rumors.
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Once again, the Sixers and Philadelphia native Dion Waiters are linked together.

According to a report from Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, the Sixers are interested in acquiring the shooting guard from Cleveland.