Atlantic Notes: Young, 76ers, Leslie

When the 76ers last clinched a playoff berth, they finished the lockout-shortened 2011/12 season with a 35-31 record and reached the second round before getting eliminated. The only member of that team still remaining on the roster is Thaddeus Young, who at that time started just one of 63 games but produced 12.8 PPG and 5.2 RPG in nearly 28 MPG as a reserve.

Now at 25-years-old, Young stands as the third-oldest player on the team and has started all but one game this season – posting career highs in points (17.7), steals (2.2), and field goal attempts per game (15.4). Despite that, the 15-45 Sixers are clearly in rebuilding mode and will face another offseason of significant decisions to make. Aside from the draft, Philadelphia’s biggest question mark moving forward has to do with whether or not they’ll keep their former lottery pick, says Keith Pompey of The Inquirer.

Here’s more out of the Atlantic Division tonight, including more from the above piece:

  • Young tells Pompey he understands that other teams could be targeting him but insists he’s remaining focused: “Guys always talk and they always say [that at] any given time and given moment, you are auditioning for 29 other teams…I just took it as going out there and playing and focusing in and me doing the job and the task at hand…I didn’t look at it as I was auditioning or anything like that…It crosses your mind. But at the end of the day, you have to just play basketball and things will work out.”
  • Philadelphia would be wise to avoid any marquee free agent who isn’t named LeBron James this summer, argues John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News, who examines the paths that may lead the team back to respectability.
  • In addition to severing ties with Chris Smith earlier today, it’s worth noting that the Bayhawks recently traded the D-League rights of forward C.J. Leslie, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Leslie, who had been a top target on New York’s draft board last June, was reportedly unhappy with his role on the Knicks’ D-League affiliate.
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