Ben Simmons

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Simmons, Fultz

He may not be touted as one of their future franchise cornerstones but Richaun Holmes played a significant role in the Sixers‘ improvement in 2016/17. Holmes, a backup power forward-turned-starting center after injuries hit, spoke with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype about his future with the organization.

I can be so much better. So much better,” the 23-year-old Sixers big said. “I think I’m just scratching the surface of my potential. With the things I’m working on now, the way I’m feeling now and where my head is at now, I’m definitely maturing as a player and as a man.”

The soon-to-be third-year Sixers center is working on improving his pick-and-roll defense and jump shot this summer.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • In the aforementioned Alex Kennedy interview, Richaun Holmes had this to say about Sixers 2016 draft pick Ben Simmons: “Man, I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest. To be 7-feet tall and be able to move the way he does and have that skill set, I’ve never seen anyone like him. And I think the thing that stands out most to me is just how hard he plays.
  • Any Nets fans in the mood for an excruciating hike up memory gorge will be pleased to see that Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reviewed, in detail, the infamous trade that sent four first-round draft picks from the Brooklyn to the Celtics.
  • A Nets Daily tweet reminds followers that the Nets will likely get the Pacers‘ 2019 second-round pick, something that ought to gain value if Paul George is half-way out the door in Indiana.
  • There are plenty of reasons for the Sixers to be excited about Markelle Fultz but one of the biggest is the sheer number of needs he will be able to meet in Philadelphia. Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes about head coach Brett Brown and the boxes Fultz will tick for the franchise.

Community Shootaround: Potential 76ers Big Three

Even if your mother always warned you not to get ahead of yourself, let’s get ahead of ourselves anyway. After all, Coach Klein did teach Bobby Boucher in The Waterboy that “what Mama don’t know, won’t hurt her.”

Classic movies from 1998 aside, the 76ers are reportedly close to trading for the Celtics‘ No. 1 overall pick in next week’s draft. If completed, Philly would very likely select Markelle Fultz, the tantalizing University of Washington freshman with major upside. Can you imagine Fultz on the court with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons? The Sixers could boast three of the most promising young players in the NBA. Fultz is 19 years old, Simmons is 20, and Embiid is 23. Lest we forget, Philly also possesses promising 23-year-olds Dario Saric and Richaun Holmes on its youthful roster.

If Fultz’s workout with the Sixers (scheduled for 6 PM Eastern Time Saturday night) goes as well as expected, the trade could soon be finalized, and 76ers fans could witness their fantasy coming true of a Fultz-Simmons-Embiid big (and young) three. Today’s discussion question is: assuming the trade is completed and the Sixers wind up with Fultz, how special can this trio be together? What kind of obstacles do you expect them to face? If Brett Brown still elects to play Simmons at point guard, would that mostly help or hurt Fultz’s development on the court?

We’d love to hear your insight in the comment section.

Sixers Notes: Fultz, Ball, Embiid, Simmons, Korkmaz

With the No. 3 pick in this month’s draft, the Sixers aren’t overly likely to have a chance to draft either Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball, but that doesn’t mean the team isn’t doing its due diligence on those top prospects. President of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo told reporters today, including Derek Bodner (Twitter link) that they’ve talked to Fultz’s reps about the possibility of working him out, though it seems like he may only audition for the Celtics.

Meanwhile, Colangelo said the Sixers haven’t yet met with Ball, but would still like to do so, as Jessica Camerato of tweets. With the exception of those two point guards, Philadelphia has workouts lined up for all of this year’s top prospects, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • According to Colangelo, the Sixers have their eye on six or seven prospects with the No. 3 overall pick (Twitter link via Bodner). In addition to Fultz and Ball, I’d imagine guys like De’Aaron Fox, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, and Malik Monk are under consideration.
  • Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons won’t participate in Summer League play for the Sixers, Colangelo confirmed today (Twitter link via Bodner). Both players are coming off season-ending injuries, so it seems the team will take it slow and look to get them ready for the fall.
  • 2016 first-round pick Furkan Korkmaz, a draft-and-stash prospect, may play for the Sixers in the Summer League, depending on his international commitments (Twitter link via Bodner). For now, Korkmaz is traveling to Philadelphia to visit the Sixers and work out with some of the club’s players, per Pompey (Twitter link). The young shooting guard wants to come stateside for the 2017/18 season, but has a pricey buyout – $2MM, according to David Pick – and the 76ers may want to stash him for a little while longer.
  • Tyler Cavanaugh (George Washington), Derrick White (Colorado), Tahjere McCall (Tennessee State), Isaiah Briscoe (Kentucky), Reggie Upshaw Jr. (Middle Tennessee State), and Melo Trimble (Maryland) worked out today for the Sixers, as Pompey writes for The Inquirer.

Lonzo Ball Considering Sixers Workout

Lonzo Ball is mulling a workout with the Sixers, sources tell Chris Haynes of Ball, who has been linked to the Lakers at No. 2, declined to work out for the Celtics, the team with the top selection in the draft.

Ball’s agent and Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo are expected to sit down and have a conversation about the team. Once that happens, Ball will make a final decision.

Sources tell Haynes that Ball’s camp has concerns over how the team will use Ben Simmons with the worry being that the 2016 No. 1 overall selection will be placed in a ball-dominant role next season. The UCLA product is arguably better served to play a ball-dominant role, so pairing him with Simmons may not be best for his individual game.

The Sixers have confidence that the Simmons-Ball pairing can work, Haynes adds. Ball is expected to be off the board by time Philadelphia picks at No.3, but it appears the Sixers are interested in the point guard should the Lakers shock the world and go in another direction.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Crowder, Simmons

Speaking with reporters at the NBA Draft Combine, Knicks president Phil Jackson reiterated that he thinks Carmelo Anthony should waive his no-trade clause and accept the reality of playing elsewhere, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

He has a no-trade contract. I think I expressed what I felt [in April]. I can’t express it any better,” Jackson said of the Knicks forward.

Jackson did note that he’s been in touch with Anthony through text messages, referencing the news reports that the Knicks star and his wife may be headed toward divorce.

In 74 games for the Knicks this season, Anthony averaged 22.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game but the club won just 31 contests in a year marred by off-court melodrama.

There’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Don’t expect 2016 first overall pick Ben Simmons to suit up for the Sixers in the summer league this offseason, Scott Howard-Cooper of tweets. Fans curious to see the forward in action, however, can always check his Instagram for a recent video of him practicing.
  • A league executive has praised Celtics general manager Danny Ainge for the trade that yielded Jae Crowder back in 2014, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England writes. Crowder appeared to be little more than a throw-in in the Rajon Rondo deal but has evolved into a premier defender.
  • In an attempt to stop things in their tracks, Knicks president Phil Jackson opted not to address the situation unfolding with a beleaguered Kristaps Porzingis, an ESPN report mentions. The second-year man has voiced his displeasure with the organization but has also declared that he’d like to remain with the franchise.

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Simmons, George, Covington

Bryan Colangelo has become the least trusted GM in Philadelphia, charges Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hayes blasts Colangelo for being evasive about releasing injury details regarding Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric and others, and more recently for refusing to say whether Ben Simmons will play in the Summer League. The writer contends that Simmons needs the work to help with his transition to point guard and criticizes Colangelo for not being more open about the team’s plans.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • A long string of injuries and the February trades of Noel and Ersan Ilyasova made Colangelo’s first full season in charge look like another Sam Hinkie season, writes Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Ford adds that the team wasn’t able to address several important questions for the future of the franchise, such as whether Simmons can handle the point guard role, if he and Embiid are an effective combination and if Jerryd Bayless can be counted on as a starter.
  • Pacers forward Paul George might be worth a gamble if the Sixers want to make a splash this summer, Ford writes in a separate column. George has a player option for 2018/19, which means he will be effectively entering the final year of his contract next season. With rumors that he is interested in joining his hometown Lakers, Indiana may be tempted to move him in a trade instead of losing him with nothing in return. The Sixers have young talent to offer, and may have two high picks, depending on the results of next month’s lottery. “At the three, Robert Covington kind of has that position locked up with not a lot of depth at the position currently,” Colangelo recently told reporters. “But we’ve got some interesting draft prospects in the top 10 that happen to address that situation and that need.”
  • Covington underwent minor arthroscopic surgery this week to fix a meniscus tear in his right knee, the Sixers announced on their website. Covington will rehab the knee in Philadelphia and is expected to be ready for full basketball activities this summer.

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Brown, Colangelo, Embiid

Center Jahlil Okafor wasn’t among the players identified as “keepers” for next season by Sixers coach Brett Brown in a news conference today. Brown listed Ben Simmons, Joel EmbiidTimothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes, Robert CovingtonDario Saric, Nik Stauskas and T.J. McConnell, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Okafor was the subject of numerous trade rumors prior to February’s deadline. and his future with the organization remains uncertain. Brown said Okafor understands this is an important offseason for him (Twitter link), adding, “Our mission this summer is to get his body right.” (Twitter link). GM Bryan Colangelo, who also spoke to reporters today, didn’t say that trading Okafor will be a priority, but he noted, “If a deal comes along that makes sense for both, we’ll listen.” (Twitter link).

There’s more today out of Philadelphia:

  • Brown and Colangelo both identified shooting as the Sixers’ most pressing offseason need. Brown said the team also needs to find a backup power forward, sign some veterans, assess Simmons’ abilities as a point guard and find the right shooting guard to play alongside him, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.
  • Brown added that early-season injuries to Simmons and Jerryd Bayless were the biggest obstacles the Sixers faced in their 28-54 season (Twitter link). Simmons fractured a bone in his right foot during training camp and missed the entire year. Bayless, who signed a three-year, $27MM deal last offseason, tore a ligament in his left wrist during camp and was limited to three games. “You felt like you just blew out your backcourt in about a week,” Brown said.
  • The Sixers are expecting a much healthier version of Embiid next season, Pompey tweets. After missing his first two NBA seasons, Embiid was limited to 31 games in his rookie year. Although he played spectacularly, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, Embiid was on a minutes restriction and Philadelphia’s medical staff was very cautious about his availability. “I don’t think back-to-backs will be an issue” for Embiid next season, Colangelo said.
  • Colangelo promises an aggressive approach in free agency, saying, “If there is the right free agent to spend money on, we will.” (Twitter link). The Sixers will enter the July bidding with more than $50MM available under the salary cap. Colangelo also vowed to be “prudent and wise” with any signings (Twitter link).

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Saric, McConnell

The Sixers lost to the Celtics in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals and Lavoy Allen believes that if Philadelphia had prevailed in that contest, the franchise would be in a much different position, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays.

“We would have had a couple of more years with [Nikola Vucevic], Andre Iguodala, and a few of the guys,” said Allen. “We would have had some more good years if we would have kept that team together.”

Instead, the team pivoted, making a trade for Andrew Bynum. The big man wasn’t able to stay on the court and a year later, The Process was born.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Coach Brett Brown would like to see Ben Simmons participate in summer league, but it’s unclear if the 2016 No.1 overall pick will be healthy enough to play, Pompey passes along in the same piece. “His health and the judgment of his health rules the day. I don’t know what that looks like when we are talking about the summer league,” Brown said.
  • Brown would like to see the Sixers add shooters this offseason, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News relays. “We need shooters,” Brown said. “That’s kind of the bottom line. We need to get Ben Simmons the ball, we need to have Joel be Joel, and get a bunch of shooters around them.”
  • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes Dario Saric is best suited for a role off the bench next season. The scribe believes Joel Embiid needs someone who can shoot from behind the arc next to him in the frontcourt and Saric only made 31.1% of his 3-point attempts this season.
  • If the Sixers want to win next season, T.J. McConnell may give them the best chance to do so, Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News opines. Hayes is a fan of the point guard’s defense and he believes McConnell will return better immediate value at the position than Simmons or a first-round draft pick would.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Simmons, Fultz, Oakley

Aside from the mercurial debut by Joel Embiid, the most important thing to happen for the Sixers this season has been the development of young players, Derek Bodner writes on his websiteDario Saric, Robert Covington, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes and T.J. McConnell have all seen significant playing time and should be important components of the team going forward. Bodner adds that coach Brett Brown is living up to the reputation that he had as a player development specialist when former GM Sam Hinkie hired him in 2013.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Brown is dismissing rumors that rookie Ben Simmons has grown two inches during the season, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. That story apparently started with a comment made by World B. Free on a Cavaliers broadcast last month. “I can feel comfortable saying no, he has not grown to 7 feet,” Brown said. “I wish he had.” The first pick in last year’s draft, Simmons missed the entire season after breaking a bone in his right foot during training camp.
  • University of Washington guard Markelle Fultz, a possible top pick in this year’s draft, is visiting Madison Square Garden today to watch the Knicks, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. New York, which occupies the sixth spot in our latest Reverse Standings, is hoping for some lottery luck to have a chance at Fultz.
  • Former Knicks star Charles Oakley will appear in court Tuesday for charges stemming from his February run-in with team owner James Dolan that resulted in his ejection from the arena. Oakley, who is charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of criminal trespass, told Dan Gelston of The Associated Press that he has no regrets about the incident. “I would have done everything just the same way,” Oakley said. “I didn’t do nothing. I was only in the arena five minutes. I didn’t know you could get in that much trouble in five minutes. I’d take my chances and do the same thing again.”

And-Ones: Draft, D. Smith, Ball, Sixers, Webb

It’s still a little early for NBA prospects to start formally declaring for the 2017 NBA draft, but there’s “no question” that North Carolina State freshman Dennis Smith Jr. will be among the players who enter, a source tells Adam Zagoria of (Twitter link). According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), the Timberwolves had multiple people, including assistant GM Noah Croom, in attendance to watch N.C. State play Clemson at this week’s ACC tournament — Smith certainly would have been a player of interest in that game.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the NBA:

  • Lavar Ball, the father of UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball, has made headlines by boasting about his son’s potential, and NBA executives have to take Lavar’s presence into consideration when evaluating Lonzo, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. “That is going to be another thing to look at when it comes to due diligence before the draft,” one GM told Deveney. “How does he handle his dad — is it just something he laughs about, or is it real pressure on him?”
  • Sixers cornerstones Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid won’t play again for the team this season, but will they be ready to contribute in Summer League action in July? Head coach Brett Brown believes it’s “too early to make that judgment,” though he acknowledges that it’s something the team is considering. Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer has the quotes and the details.
  • James Webb III, who has been with the Delaware 87ers as an affiliate player this season after being waived by the Sixers in the fall, has fractured his right ankle and will be sidelined for the rest of the D-League season, the team announced today in a press release. A camp invitee who received a $65K guarantee from Philadelphia, Webb has averaged 13.1 PPG and 9.3 RPG in 39 NBADL games.
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