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Atlantic Notes: Rozier, Hinkie, Raptors

When asked what the Sixers need to move ahead in their rebuilding process, GM Sam Hinkie said Philadelphia needs to find talented players capable of leading the team deep into the playoffs, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays. “That’s critical,” Hinkie said. “We have several on the roster. We’ll need more. There’s not any one position or any one type of player. We’ll need talented players to take us to the next level.” Philadelphia will look to the upcoming draft in its pursuit of impact players, though Hinkie was coy on whom the franchise was targeting come June and would only say they want “gifted” players, Pompey adds. “Gifted ones that are wildly competitive, that want to be great in their craft, that have been blessed with real gifts, size and length and the like,” Hinkie said. “Turn on a late West Coast game and watch who’s lighting the league on fire now. You’ll see examples of it.

Asked if the team would focus on the backcourt after going big the past two drafts despite the small-ball trend in the NBA, Hinkie told the Inquirer scribe, “I don’t think the league is going any one particular way, where you have to have this or that. You can look at our team and say we need more of this, and that makes sense too. We’re still after how do we put the building blocks in place.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • On a Celtics team that is laden with guards, rookie Terry Rozier has only appeared in 18 contests this season, but he is refusing to allow that to diminish his enthusiasm to be in the league, Spencer Davies of AmicoHoops.net relays. “It’ll all work out,” Rozier told Davies. “I don’t really worry about the naysayers or the things that are going on right now, because I know at the end of the day — I know I’m working. I know it’ll happen for me.
  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone is familiar with the Raptors organization, with his father, Brendan Malone, having been the team’s first head coach in 1995/96. The younger Malone is impressed with how far the Toronto basketball culture has grown over the years, Chris O’Leary of The Toronto Star writes. “They’ve come a long way in so many areas,” Malone said. “I can remember my father as the first coach in Raptors history trying to educate the fans but also the media. A lot of the guys that covered the Raptors at the time really weren’t [knowledgeable] so he would have sessions after practice with the media talking just about the game of basketball.

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