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Week (at least) that Joel Embiid is expected to miss due to left knee soreness

Instead of trading Jahlil Okafor, as many presumed would happen, the 76ers traded center Nerlens Noel to the Mavericks for center Andrew Bogut, swingman Justin Anderson and what will likely be a pair of second-round draft picks.

Jeremy Hellickson’s struggles make it less likely the Phillies can acquire anything of value at the trade deadline. In this Phillies Notebook, Eric Fisher also examines the importance of top draft picks, Scott Kingery’s situation and the Phillies’ bench woes.

After the dust settles following the NFL Draft’s first round, the Eagles will try to build depth and find future starters, such as Iowa DB Desmond King (pictured), in rounds 2-7. Gordon Glantz presents his final Eagles mock draft, and throws in some rookie free agents as a bonus.

Archive for the ‘76ers’ Category

Worst Sixers draft picks

Posted by Eric Fisher On February - 16 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

Several factors are involved in evaluating how bad a draft pick turned out. The first is that player’s performance while with the Sixers. The second is how high that player was selected and, if applicable, what the Sixers gave up to acquire that pick. An additional factor is what other players were available for the Sixers to select at that time.

Now that the criteria is set, PhillyPhanatics.com presents our top 10 list — or should it be the bottom 10 list? — of the worst Sixers draft picks during the past 50 years.

10. Keith Van Horn, 1997, No. 2 The Sixers immediately traded the Utah forward to the Nets for the 7th overall pick, Villanova forward Tim Thomas, who didn’t make it through 1 1/2 seasons with the Sixers before being traded. Van Horn comes back to the Sixers for the 2002-03 season and averages 15.9 points. Better draft options included Chauncey Billups (No. 3) and Tracy McGrady (No. 9).

9. Freddie Boyd, 1972, No. 5 The scoring averages for this guard from Oregon State declined every season after he averaged 10.5 points as a rookie. Boyd was traded after playing 2 games of his 4th season with the Sixers. Heaveraged 8.5 points in 6 NBA seasons. Guard Paul Westphal was selected 10th overall. Massachusetts forward Julius Erving, who was headed to the ABA, was selected at No. 12.

8. Jahlil Okafor, 2015, No. 3 The Duke forward played just 2 games in his third season with the Sixers before being traded to the Nets. After averaging 17.5 points as a rookie, Okafor’s game declined. He also had trouble off the court and was a poor defender. He’s a bench player for the Pelicans this season. Kristaps Porzingis (No. 4), Devin Booker (No. 13) and Terry Rozier (No. 16) would have been much better selections.

7. Evan Turner, 2010, No. 2 The guard from Ohio State has averaged 10 points per game during an NBA career that is still in progress. Turner’s scoring average increased during each of his 3-plus seasons with the Sixers, but he was traded before completing his 4th season. DeMarcus Cousins was selected three picks later and Gordon Hawyward was selected No. 9, but the best swingman selection would have been Paul George, who was picked 10th overall.

6. Leon Wood, 1984, No. 10 The Sixers got off to a terrific start in this draft by selecting Auburn forward Charles Barkley at No. 5. But they used the second of their three first-round picks on Wood, a guard from Cal State-Fullerton. Wood last just 67 games for the Sixers before being traded to Washington during his 2nd season. He averaged 6.4 points during 6 NBA seasons before becoming an NBA referee. What makes the Wood pick worse is that the Sixers could have selected Gonzaga guard John Stockton, who was selected 16th by the Jazz..

5. Jerry Stackhouse, 1995, No. 3 This guard from North Carolina averaged 16.9 points during an 18-year career, including a career high of 29.8 points one season with the Pistons. But Stackhouse lasted just 22 games into his 3rd season with the Sixers before, unable to mesh with Allen Iverson, he was traded him to the Pistons. What earns Stackhouse a high spot on this list is that the two players selected after him during the 1995 draft were his North Carolina teammate Rasheed Wallace and high school center Kevin Garnett.

4. Shawn Bradley, 1993, No. 2  This 7-foot-6 center from BYU was supposed to be a game-changer. Instead, he averaged 8.1 points during a 12-year career. He lasted a little more than 2 seasons with the Sixers before being traded to the Nets. The next two players selected in the 1993 draft were Anfernee Hardaway and Jamal Mashburn.

3. Larry Hughes, 1998, No. 8 Averaged 14.1 points during a 13-year NBA career, but the guard from St. Louis averaged 9.1 and 10 points with the Sixers before being traded during his season season with the team. What elevates Hughes on this list is that the next two players selected in 1998 were Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce.

2. Marvin Barnes, 1974, No. 2 pick Barnes’ nickname was “Bad News,” and he certainly lived up to that nickname for the Sixers. The talented Providence forward never played a game for the Sixers. He spent 2 seasons in the ABA, averaging 24 points per game, before coming to the NBA for 4 pedestrian seasons. Forwards the Sixers passed on included Bobby Jones (No. 5), Jamaal Wilkes (No. 10) and Maurice Lucas (No. 14).

1. Markelle Fultz, 2017, No. 1 overall The Sixers traded up from No. 3 to No. 1 in order to select this combination guard from Washington even though they probably could have drafted Fultz at No. 3. The Celtics got Jayson Tatum at No. 3 and a first-round pick from the Sixers. Meanwhile, Fultz played 33 games for the Sixers in a little more than 1 1/2 seasons and became a distraction before being traded to the Magic at this year’s trade deadline.

Sixers Notebook

Posted by Eric Fisher On February - 15 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

The 76ers are better after general manager Elton Brand gave the team a partial makeover at the trade deadline. The question is whether the Sixers are good enough to contend for an NBA championship.

The addition of Tobias Harris, acquired from the Clippers in a multi-player deal at the trade deadline, improves the starting lineup. Harris was averaging 20.7 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting 43 percent from 3-point range. He also plays well on the defensive end. Harris is unquestionably an upgrade over Wilson Chandler or whoever the Sixers used in the starting lineup when Chandler was sidelined by injuries.

Harris’ ability to shoot from long range should prevent teams from sagging into the lane to cover Joel Embiid or clog Ben Simmons’ lanes to the basket. His presence should also create more open 3-point shots for JJ Redick.

With the addition of Harris, a case can certainly be made that the Sixers have the best starting lineup in the Eastern Conference. All five starters, with Jimmy Butler acquired in a trade earlier this season, are legitimate threats to score at least 20 points.

The question mark remains the bench. The Sixers sent Chandler, rookie guard Landry Shamet and forward Mike Muscala to the Clippers, along with first-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021 and a pair of second-round selections, to the Clippers in exchange for Harris, center Boban Marjanovic and forward Mike Scott. Brand then supplemented the bench by adding wing Jonathon Simmons as part of the trade that sent Markelle Fultz to the Magic, and then picking up veteran wingman James Ennis from the Rockets. These players have to be mixed into a rotation that includes holdovers such as T.J. McConnell, Jonah Bolden and Furkan Korkmaz.

Head coach Brett Brown is left with the task of putting all of these pieces together in the best way in order to maximize their talents. He has 24 games left to figure it out before the playoffs begin.

Which players work better with the starters? Which combination of bench players is most effective? Would Brown consider bringing Butler, Harris or Redick off the bench to balance out the scoring?

Brown has already started tinkering with the bench. What the Sixers can’t afford to have happen is a repeat of Tuesday’s Celtics game, when Gordon Hayward outscored the Sixers bench all by himself.

The Sixers definitely improved at the trade deadline. The question is whether their bench is good enough for the Sixers to succeed against the better teams in the Eastern Conference and contend for an NBA title.

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THE FUTURE IS NOW: The moves at the trade deadline indicate that general manager Elton Brand is clearly pushing for a championship run this season. Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott all could become unrestricted free agents after this season. Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick also could become unrestricted free agents after this season.

The Sixers are unlikely to be able to re-sign all of these players – if they want to do so. It even seems unlikely that they will be able to bring back Harris, Butler and Redick. Will Butler even want to return if his role is reduced due to the acquisition of Harris?

Giving up two first-round draft picks, including the Heat’s unprotected pick in 2021, is another sign that Brand’s focus is on contending for a championship right now rather than a few years down the road.

*****

THE FUTURE IS GONE: Remember how excited Sixers fans were when the team traded up to the top of the first round in 2017. The Sixers selected guard Markelle Fultz with the first overall pick, sparking a flurry of ticket sales and an outpouring of enthusiasm.

Less than two years later, the Fultz era is over. Fultz played just 33 games in a Sixers uniform. He was traded to the Magic just before last week’s trade deadline in exchange for wing Jonathon Simmons, a lottery-protected first-round pick that originally belonged to the Thudner and a second-round pick in 2019.

Given all of the anticipation and excitement when Fultz was drafted, it’s clear that he was a bust. In fact, he may have been the worst draft pick in Sixers history.

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STAR TURNS: Ben Simmons will be extremely busy during All-Star week. Simmons is participating in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday (9 p.m.) as part of the World team, then will participate in Sunday’s All-Star Game (8 p.m.) as part of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team. Simmons was part of LeBron James’ team, where he would have teamed with Joel Embiid, but was traded to Team Giannis.

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COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT: Joel Embiid was fined $25,000 for saying “The referees (bleeping) suck” following the Sixers’ 112-109 loss to the Celtics on Tuesday. Embiid was particularly upset that Celtics center Al Horford wasn’t called for a foul on an Embiid shot with 33.6 seconds remaining in regulation and the Sixers trailing by two points. The NBA later even admitted that a foul should have been called on Horford.

The problem with isolating one play, however, is that it’s not necessarily reflective of the entire game. In the first quarter, Horford picked up a technical foul after being called for a foul on what appeared to be a clean block of an Embiid shot. Embiid frequently dips his shoulder and uses his considerable size and strength to establish position by moving defenders out of his space. He dipped his shoulder earlier in the fourth quarter to drive Horford backward, but was fortunate that Horford was called for reaching in instead of Embiid being called for a charge.

Embiid’s postgame comments were accurate in reference to one specific non-call. But they weren’t an accurate assessment of his battle with Horford throughout the entire game. Furthermore, a player who relies on a physical style as much as Embiid should avoid antagonizing referees.

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PLAY SMARTER, NOT HARDER: Joel Embiid’s leap into the stands Wednesday to save a ball during the fourth quarter of a 126-111 victory over the Knicks wasn’t a smart play. I love players who hustle, but this was an unnecessary risk for a franchise player. The Sixers weren’t going to lose to the Knicks, who were losing their 18th straight game. Embiid didn’t need to make that play. The risk wasn’t remotely close to being worth the reward.

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KEEPING PACE: The conventional wisdom was that the Pacers would drop in the standings after star Victor Oladipo suffered a season-ending injury (ruptured quadriceps tendon) to his right leg. Instead, the Pacers (38-20) remain ahead of both the Sixers and Celtics (both 37-21) in the battle for seeding in the Eastern Conference.

The Pacers’ loss to the Eastern Conference-leading Bucks on Wednesday snapped a six-game winning streak. The Pacers also signed swingman Wes Matthews, who was bought out by the Knicks. Matthews would certainly have looked nice coming off the Sixers’ bench.

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CONFERENCE RACES: The Eastern Conference playoff races have broken into three tiers. At the top are the Bucks (43-14) and Raptors (43-16), who are battling for the top seed and homecourt throughoug the playoffs.

The next grouping includes the Pacers (38-20), the Sixers (37-21) and Celtics (37-21). Barring a big jump up or drop down by one of these teams, the second third teams in this grouping will have to face each other in the first round of the playoffs, with the third team not having homecourt advantage. That could be a huge difference for a team like the Sixers, who have a much better home record (23-7) than road record (14-14).

The next group is led by the Nets (30-29). Following the Nets are the Hornets (27-30), Pistons (26-30), Heat (26-30) and Magic (27-32). Three of those teams, including the Nets, will earn playoff berths.

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MILTON INJURED: Guard Shake Milton broke his finger – technically, a fracture of the fourth metacarpal on his right hand) – last week while playing for the Delaware Blue Coats, the Sixers’ affiliate in the G-League. He is expected to miss several weeks.

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BREAKING AWAY: After the All-Star break, the Sixers will return to action Thursday (7 p.m.) against the Heat at Wells Fargo Center. They will host the Trail Blazers two days later (1 p.m.) before hitting the road for games against the Pelicans (Mon., Feb. 25) and Thunder (Thurs., Feb. 28).


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Side angle of Cody Parkey's missed field goal