Sixers center Joel Embiid feels personal responsibility that former executive Sam Hinkie lost his job, as he expressed to NBA.com’s David Aldridge during a wide-ranging interview. Embiid believes Hinkie would still be running the Sixers if not for the foot injuries that kept Embiid out of action for two seasons after Hinkie drafted him. “He made sure he put everything in place so I could get healthy. And I got healthy and I got back on the court,” Embiid said. “And I feel like he basically kind of lost his job because of me, because I missed two years. So I feel like I owe him a lot.”
In other news around the Eastern Conference:
- Shooting guard Nik Stauskas, who was included in the deal that sent Jahlil Okafor to the Nets, is eager for a fresh start with Brooklyn, Nets website writer Tom Dowd relays. Stauskas appeared in 80 games, including 27 starts, with the Sixers last season but only saw action in six games this season after the off-season signing of J.J. Redick. “I’m just happy with the new change of scenery,” Stauskas said. “I feel like I get a chance to press the reset button.”
- Pistons coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy revealed that he rated Celtics forward Jayson Tatum as the top player in the draft but Van Gundy is still surprised by the rookie’s 3-point shooting. Tatum, who played one season at Duke, led the league coming into Monday’s action with his 52.3% success rate from long range. “I thought he was the best prospect in the draft,” Van Gundy said Sunday in his pregame press conference. “He’s got all the tools. Anbody who says they’re not surprised by (his) three-point shooting, based on what he did in college, is lying. If there’s somebody who says I knew he’d knock down 50 percent of his threes even though he made 32 percent of them from the college line, they’re lying.”
- Center Robin Lopez, power forward Nikola Mirotic and shooting guard Justin Holiday are three Bulls players that Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times views as trade bait. All three are rotation players whose contracts expire after next season, though there’s a team option on the final year of Mirotic’s deal, worth $12.5MM.