Ben Simmons Receives All-NBA Honors

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The accolades continue to rack up for Ben Simmons. After being named to an All-Defensive team a few weeks ago the two-time All-Star has received more league-wide recognition.

Earlier today the NBA announced its All-NBA team. Simmons found himself on the All-NBA third team with Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum, Rudy Gobert, and Russell Westbrook. He received nine second-team votes and 34 third-team votes.

In just his third season Simmons averaged 16.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 8.0 APG, and a league-leading 2.1 SPG. Simmons also had the fifth most triple-doubles this season with six. He continues to show he is one of the league's brightest young talents, and it looks like the league is finally giving him his due.

At just 24 years of age Simmons has built up quite the resume. He is won Rookie of the Year, is a multi-time All-Star, received All-Defensive honors, and now All-NBA recognition. It's no secret that the future is bright for Ben Simmons.

Joel Embiid received some recognition, but not enough to find himself on an All-NBA team. The All-Star big man got three first-team votes, 14 second-team votes, and 22 third-team votes. As arguably the best center in the league, there is a real case that Embiid was snubbed.

This nod was well deserved for Simmons. There are very few players who impact a game on a nightly basis the way he does. From his defense to his playmaking, Simmons is a special talent. This will likely be the first of many All-NBA selections as Simmons gets ready to enter the prime of his career.

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Potential Second Round Picks for the Sixers

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

There is a lot of speculation that the Sixers will package their first-round pick in this year’s draft in a trade. With that being said, the team cannot afford to waste their second-round picks. 

The Sixers will pick four times in the second round, giving them a chance to take a flier on a couple of interesting prospects. Here are three names the team should keep an eye on.

Immanuel Quickley 

It might sound like a broken record at this point, but the Sixers need to address their lack of shooting. Since JJ Redick’s departure, the team has missed a go-to knockdown shooter on the outside. This is a role that Immanuel Quickley could fill if drafted to the Sixers. 

Quickley is coming off a sophomore season at Kentucky where he averaged 16.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 1.9 APG. He also shot a stellar 42.8% from three on close to five attempts a game and shot 92.3% from the foul line. 

Elton Brand said that moving forward he plans to complement Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid better, and this is the exact kind of player that does. Quickley is a guy that could come in and be used the same way Redick was used. 

Whether it is catching and shooting on the perimeter or in the dribble handoff game with Embiid, Quickley is a great complement to the Sixers’ All-Stars. He would be a great choice with one of the early picks in the second round for the Sixers.  

Grant Riller 

Riller is a name that continues to rise and fall on draft boards. Some early mock drafts had the Sixers drafting him at pick 21, and recent ones have him available in the second round. 

Part of that has to do with the “four-year guy” tag he has on him that teams like to stay away from. But this could be a benefit for the Sixers as they need mature prospects as they look to compete. Drafting upperclassmen has paid off in the past for the Sixers with guys like Landry Shamet and Matisse Thybulle. 

In his senior season at College of Charleston Riller averaged 21.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 3.9 APG. He was also effective from deep, shooting 36.2% on four attempts a game. Finding a suitable backup point guard has been a struggle in the past for the Sixers, but they might find one in Riller. 

Along with being a guard who could facilitate a second unit, he could also share the floor with the Sixers’ stars. Riller’s ability to operate in the pick-and-roll could make him a good secondary ball-handler with Ben Simmons running the show. His offensive game is also strong enough where he could go off the ball and knock down shots off screens or handoffs. 

Jordan Nwora

Nwora is another upperclassman the Sixers should have their eyes on. He has a skill set that could transition to a very solid three-and-D player. Plus, at six foot seven and 225 lbs, he already has a frame ready to compete against NBA athletes. 

This past season at Louisville Nwora averaged 18.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.3 APG, and knocked down 40.2% of his shots from deep. He is at his best when catching and shooting, knocking down 66.5% of his attempts off the catch. 

His skill set and athleticism are exactly what the Sixers need off the bench. Adding guys who can knock down shots and defend on the perimeter is going to be a must for the Sixers. Nwora could be a guy that could come in and give you a lot of what Glenn Robinson III gave on both ends. He is worth taking a chance on with one of the four picks in the second round. 

All three of these players bring a role or skill set that the Sixers need to fill. It will be fascinating to see what road the organization decides to take on draft night. 

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New Name Emerges in Sixers' Coaching Search

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The list of names in the running to become the new coach of the Sixers continues to grow. As of Sunday afternoon, another big name has been thrown into the mix.

After being eliminated from the postseason on Saturday night, Rockets' head coach Mike D'Antoni has informed the Rockets that he will not be signing a new deal with the team. D'Antoni has spent the last four seasons in Houston where he posted a record of 217-101.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowkski has reported that D'Antoni will be considered as a candidate for the Sixers' head coaching position. This could be a potential homecoming as he was an assistant coach under Brett Brown in the 2015-2016 season before becoming the head coach of the Rockets.

Overall as a head coach D'Antoni has a record of 672-527 in the regular season and 54-56 in the playoffs. In terms of experience, he arguably has the most among candidates in the running for the job, but his fit with the Sixers might not be the best.

His losing record in the postseason is one red flag that stands out. As the Sixers are looking to take the next step in contending for a title, his struggles in the playoffs are concerning.

Another thing that sticks out is his style of play. D'Antoni's brand of basketball doesn't exactly match the mold of the current Sixers' roster construction.

Whether it was with the "seven seconds or less" Suns or with the Rockets, D'Antoni has always liked to push the pace. Playing fast has always been his focus and that isn't how the Sixers are built to play.

Hiring D'Antoni as head coach could do wonders for Ben Simmons, but he might not be the best coach for Joel Embiid. If the Sixers are going to get this most out of their All-Star duo they need a coach that is good for them both.

D'Antoni will likely one of the finalists for the coaching position. A lot of this decision will come down to if the Sixers want to modernize their offense after their attempt at "bully ball" didn't pan out.

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Swapping Al Horford for a Scoring Guard

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

All the latest trade rumors regarding the Sixers are focused on chasing Chris Paul. Although this would not be a bad move for the Sixers, they need to keep their options open. There are multiple players the Sixers could potentially acquire for Al Horford in the right situation.

One name they should keep an eye on is Hornet’s guard Terry Rozier. With the emergence of Devnote Graham this season the Hornets might be willing to part ways with their key signing from last offseason. Now Rozier is no Chris Paul, but he could fill a lot of holes that the Sixers have right now.

Rozier is coming off a season for the Hornets where he averaged 18.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 4.1 APG. He also managed to shoot an impressive 40.7% from three on just under seven attempts a game. Also, at 26 years old Rozier fits the timeline of the Sixers’ core.

Adding a combo guard like Rozier is the kind of move the Sixers should be open to. He is the ideal prototype of point guard to be in the backcourt with Ben Simmons running the offense. Rozier can be a secondary ball-handler but mainly look to score as Simmons facilitates. His scoring abilities would make him a great partner for Ben Simmons in pick-and-roll play as well.

Switching on and off the ball is something that Rozier has done well this season sharing the backcourt with Graham in Charlotte. He also became a knockdown spot-up shooter, this past season Rozier shot 45.7% from deep on his catch and shoot attempts.

Taking on Rozier’s contract will take a bite out of the cap, but less to the extent of what Horford is owed. He is under contract for two more years, where he will receive 18.9 million in 2020-2021 and 17.9 million in 2021-2022.

We saw this year that the bright lights of the postseason hit some players harder than others. One thing Rozier does not lack is confidence and has stepped up when it mattered.

When given a chance to play a major role for Boston in the 2017-2018 playoffs he stepped up and never looked back. Over 19 games he averaged 16.5 PPG, 5.7 APG, 5.3 RPG, and 1.3 SPG playing 36 minutes a game.

The NBA draft will be a big tell if the Sixers will be able to pull off a deal like this. The Hornets currently hold the third pick, and if they draft James Wiseman it might make them reluctant to trade for a veteran big on a huge deal.

Trading for Rozier is far from a blockbuster deal, but it is one that could move the needle for the Sixers. His skill set is what they need and his fit in Philadelphia would be seamless. His softer cap hit would also give the front office more breathing room to fill out the bench. If the Sixers miss out on the Chris Paul sweepstakes, acquiring Rozier wouldn’t be a bad backup plan.

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Report: Sixers Have "Seriously Debated" A Chris Paul Trade

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Trading Al Horford has been something that has been tossed around a lot regarding the Sixers. His fit on the team never really worked, and his price tag is high for a backup position.

One name that has been thrown in Horford trades is current Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul. The Thunder recently parted ways with their head coach Billy Donovan, indicating they plan to go into a rebuild. This move makes it pretty clear that OKC will look to move the All-Star point guard this offseason.

Reports have popped up that the Sixers might be in the mix to trade for the 34-year-old Paul. NBA writer for The Ringer Kevin O'Connor reported that the Sixers have "seriously debated the idea of chasing a trade" for Chris Paul.

Swapping Horford's contract for Paul's will be expensive, but adding an elite-level guard would greatly improve the Sixers. Also, Paul's contract is one year shorter than Horford's.

The Sixers have limited assets, which is going to make acquiring Paul no easy task. Along with Horford, the Sixers will have to send multiple draft picks, and young talent like Zhaire Smith to make the money work.

Paul is owed 85 million dollars over the next two seasons, eating into what little cap space the Sixers have to work with. But if Paul can still play even close to the level he played at this season he could be a big boost to the Sixers.

Out of all the situations to trade Al Horford and get something of good value in return, this is one of the best. Paul is an All-Star guard that has shown he can be a leader on and off the floor. Elton Brand has traded for big-name stars in the past, time to see if he can pull it off again.

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Sixers Select Josh Green in Latest Mock Draft

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

We are about a month away from the NBA draft. The Sixers hold five picks in the upcoming draft and could fill some holes as they look to reconstruct their roster.

Mock drafts have had multiple names for who the Sixers pick in the first round at 21, but the latest one is very enticing. Recent mocks have the Sixers drafting Josh Green out of Arizona with their first selection on draft night.

Green is a 6-6 wing player who is coming off a freshman season at Arizona where he averaged 12.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 2.6 APG. He also knocked down 36.1% of his three-point attempts while shooting around three a game.

One thing the Sixers need to focus on is how ready these prospects are. In recent drafts, the front office has done well selecting guys who can contribute right away. Despite Green only have one year in college, he is a guy who could come right in and produce.

For starters, Green is ready for the league from a physical standpoint. At six foot six and 210 pounds Green has a frame that is ready to go against other NBA athletes. Not to mention he has a 6'10 wingspan. He is the ideal mold of wing players in today's game.

Josh Green is one of the best three-and-D prospects in this draft class and checks a lot of boxes for the Sixers. This past postseason we saw that lack of perimeter defenders hurt the Sixers greatly. Adding a prospect like Green could help fix that.

Glenn Robinson III will likely move on in free agency, making the Sixers' wing depth thinner. Green is the type of prospect that could come in and play the same type of role that Robinson III played in his short time on the Sixers.

Elton Brand told the media moving forward that he is going to look to better complement the team's two All-Stars, and Green is the exact type of player to put around those two. He is a knockdown shooter that can spot up when Joel Embiid works in the post, and he is super athletic to run the open floor with Ben Simmons in transition.

There is a slight chance that the Sixers trade this pick to sweeten an offer. But if they don't, drafting Green with the pick would be a good move for the Sixers.

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Jay Wright out of Running for Sixers' Coaching Position

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

When Brett Brown was first relieved of his head coaching duties one of the first names thrown out to be his replacement for Jay Wright. This has been a pipe dream for Sixers fans for some time now, but it looks like it will stay a dream.

Earlier today the Villanova head coach spoke out about the reports of him being a candidate for the job. He posted a statement speaking highly of Elton Brand, the organization, and what Brett Brown had built. But said he is not in the running to be the next coach.

I am not a candidate for the job. I am very happy and honored to coach at Villanova.

Wright has had continued success at Villanova which led most to believe that he would not be making the jump to the pros. He is now the first candidate out of the running to become Brett Brown's successor.

Despite Wright taking his name out of the running, there is still a large pool of names for the Sixers to choose for their vacant head coaching position. Most notable names include Clippers' assistant coach Ty Lue, Lakers' assistant coach Jason Kidd, David Joerger, and Rockets' development coach Luchas Johnson.

There is also the chance the Sixers make the move internally. Assistant coach Ime Udoka is a name that has been thrown around to land a coaching position elsewhere in the league. The Sixers have also mentioned him as a possible candidate to coach the Sixers.

The Sixers still have some time to make a final decision as to who the next head coach will be. In the meantime, it will interesting to see what names come and go as the team continues this process.

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Draft Profile: Stanford's Tyrell Terry

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Now that the Sixers’ season has come to an end it is time to start gearing up for what’s next, the NBA draft. With the draft just two months away it’s time to start getting a plan in place. The Sixers have multiple second-round picks in the upcoming draft, and here is one player they should consider using a pick on. 

Tyrell Terry is a sharpshooting guard coming out of Stanford after just one season. In his sole college season, he averaged 14.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.2 APG. His stock has continued to rise and fall on draft boards, but if available he could be a good pick for the Sixers. 

Terry checks a lot of boxes that the Sixers need. For starters, he shoots the three effectively. In 31 games at Stanford, he shot 40.8% from deep on just under five attempts a game. He is also able to get his shots off in a variety of ways whether it be catch and shooting or off the dribble. 

Shot creation is another weak area for the Sixers that Terry does well. His ability to work in the pick-and-roll can give the Sixers something similar to what they had in Alec Burks. Adding guards who can create offense on the perimeter is a must for the Sixers moving forward.

Another thing that should entice the Sixers is that Terry is a complement to both of the Sixers’ All-Stars. His spot-up shooting can aid Joel Embiid when he is working in the post or dribble hand-off situations, and his ball-handling ability makes him a good partner with Simmons in the pick-and-roll. 

Along with being an effective scorer, Terry also can work as a facilitator. He is a gifted and willing passer that could run an NBA offense. This would also make him a capable secondary ball-handler when Simmons is off the ball. 

The major concern with Terry is his size. At just six foot one and 160 pounds, he is very undersized for the NBA. Adding on strength will be key for him as he prepares to go against NBA athletes. 

Outside of his size, there is a lot to like about Terry’s game on the offensive side of the ball. With two premier defenders in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, hiding a smaller defender is capable. What he brings offensively should be enough for the Sixers to take a flier on him on draft night.

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Takeaways from Elton Brand's End-of-Season Media Availability

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

76ers general manager Elton Brand spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon about a multitude of different things. Throughout the conference call, he talked about a desire to keep Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, potential change in the front office and his role in the ever evolving Sixers management.

Here are three takeaways:

1. Elton Brand's role in the 76ers front office is solidified

When Brett Brown was fired on Monday, many 76ers fans hoped to see Brand gone with him. They were frustrated at his decision to build the team in a bully ball style last offseason instead of surrounding Embiid and Simmons with outside shooters. However, Brand will be staying at the helm for the 76ers, albeit with a twist.

When Brand was hired to be the team's general manager in September 2018, he had very limited managerial experience. His only experience came as the general manager of the Sixers' G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. Partially as a result of his lack of experience, the 76ers front office utilized a "collaborative approach" when making any decisions in Brand's first full offseason at the helm.

Continue reading "Takeaways from Elton Brand's End-of-Season Media Availability" »


Why Firing Brett Brown is Only the First Step for 76ers

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

When the news came out on Monday evening about the firing of Brett Brown, Sixers fans everywhere rejoiced because it had become clear that Brown's time in Philadelphia was up. After getting swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, the 76ers are in a situation where a lot has to change for things to get better before next season. Firing Brown, the team's coach for the past seven seasons, is only the first step in hopefully transforming the team from the one which got swept by Boston to a team that can contend for championships.

One of the things that must change this offseason is the roster construction. The 76ers' two superstars are Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, both of whom would benefit greatly from being surrounded by outside shooters.

However, last offseason general manager Elton Brand made the decision to build the team around a "bully ball" style of offense. The 76ers traded away Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat in which the team acquired Josh Richardson. The team then re-signed Tobias Harris to a five-year, $180 million contract that he has vastly underperformed in so far. The final piece on the cake, and the one that hurt the 76ers this season the most, was giving Al Horford a four-year contract worth $109 million. Last offseason's experiment to build a team around big men proved, after one season, to be a critical mistake which could hold the team back for some of the most important years of Embiid's and Simmons' careers.

Continue reading "Why Firing Brett Brown is Only the First Step for 76ers" »