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Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Sullinger, Hollins

Sixers GM Sam Hinkie may exceed the 75 players he worked out last year, writes Tom Moore of Calkins Media. Philadelphia had already talked to more than a dozen players before Tuesday’s lottery, which saw the team land the third overall pick. If Hinkie targets a certain player — Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell for instance — the front office will contact the player’s high school and college coaches, along with rival college coaches and players. Then comes a workout, followed by an interview process that can last for several hours. “We’ll spend all the available time between now and then to try to gain all the information we can to make good decisions,” Hinkie said. “By design, we’ll have to make a decision at the end of June. I think it’s really a mistake to make one sometimes much, much earlier.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers will likely pursue the best player — not the best fit — with their first-round selection, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Loaded with big men but in need of backcourt help, the Sixers probably won’t have a tough decision if Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor are the first two players selected. However, if the Lakers make a surprise decision with the second pick, Philadelphia could face a choice between a much-needed guard and a suddenly available big man. Pompey notes that Joel Embiid missed his entire rookie year due to injury and Nerlens Noel enjoyed success at center, where he won’t play once Embiid returns.
  •  The CelticsJared Sullinger is eligible for an extension this summer, but Chris Forsberg of writes that serious contract talks are more likely to happen when he becomes a restricted free agent in 2016. Sullinger, who will make $2.3MM next season, is trying to meet Boston’s front office challenge to get in better shape. “I think it’s just, they want me to go one step further,” he said. “I think that’s what it is — one step further. That’s pretty much what I’m doing [this offseason], every day at Ohio State.”
  • The Nets‘ need for stability at coach should work in favor of Lionel Hollins, writes Daniel LoGiudice of LoGiudice gives Hollins a C grade for his first season behind Brooklyn’s bench, saying the coach will need to fix his rotations and rely more on analytics to succeed long-term.

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