Brett Brown

Atlantic Notes: Porzingis, Ndour, Iguodala

The Knicks have changed their tone with regard to Kristaps Porzingis now that former president Phil Jackson is out of the picture. These days, head coach Jeff Hornacek is confident that the third-year forward will remain in New York, Ian Begley of ESPN writes.

I think it was out there that Phil was listening, but he wasn’t out shopping KP,” The Knicks bench boss clarifies. “We love KP and what he does, so I don’t see him going anywhere.”

We wrote yesterday about how the Knicks will look to prioritize the 21-year-old more in their offense, something that Jackson had been reluctant to do. They’ve also actually been in touch with the 7’3″ sharpshooter as well, a sign that tension between the two parties following Porzingis’ missed exit meeting is simmering now that his biggest critic is no longer involved.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Recently waived Maurice Ndour may be a victim of bad timing, Marc Berman of the New York Post suggests. The forward was a favorite of Phil Jackson‘s and was cut shortly after the organization and former president parted ways. The Knicks let Ndour go to free up cap space.
  • The Sixers have ample cap space and no reservations using it, something that Warriors forward Andre Iguodala may have used to his advantage in his own free agent negotiations. Rob Tornoe of the Inquirer suggests that on some occasion, agents leak meetings with Philly to drive up prices.
  • The time is now for Brett Brown to show what he’s capable of as a head coach, Bob Cooney of the Inquirer writes. Brown has done an impressive job of harnessing effort out of his limited roster in the past, now he has legitimate weapons at his disposal.

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Ainge, Raptors, Nets, Sixers

After much speculation, the Knicks ultimately decided to select French point guard Frank Ntilikina with the eight pick in the NBA Draft. Names like Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk — both of whom were still available when the Knicks were on the clock — were bypassed in favor of the athletic guard.

As Ian Begley of ESPN writes, team president Phil Jackson spoke about New York’s highly-debated selection and the ability that made the 18-year-old a must-have prospect.

“We like the size of this young man, we like his aptitude for the game, athleticism, actually the ability to incorporate himself in a winning type of a situation,” Jackson said.

New York used its 44th pick on Houston’s Damyean Dotson and its 58th pick on Serbian guard Ognjen Jaramaz. Under Jackson, the Knicks have emphasized selecting European talent and college seniors; with the team looking to build aorund young talent, it’s likely that the 2017 draft picks — particularly Ntilikina — get decent looks next season.

Here are additional notes from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Per Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (via Twitter), the Raptors tried trading up in the draft to select OG Anunoby but were pleasantly surprised when he was still available come the 23rd pick.
  • On a similar note, the Nets liked Michigan’s D.J. Wilson and tried trading up, but did not have the assets to do so, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk (via Twitter). Wilson was taken 17th overall by the Bucks.
  • Despite rumors linking the Celtics to Jimmy Butler, general manager Danny Ainge told reporters, including ESPN’s Chris Forsberg, that no recent discussions to acquire the former Bulls All-Star happened.
  • Per Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly (via Twitter), all of the Sixers‘ international picks are expected to stay overseas next season.
  • After drafting Markelle Fultz this year, Ben Simmons last year, and assembling a drove of young talent, now is the time for Sixers head coach Brett Brown to put together a winning product, Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Cooney writes.

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: 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: Embiid, Lowry, Hornacek

The Sixers are near the top of our Reverse Standings, owning a record of 28-52. The team is optimistic that it can climb the real NBA standings next season and Joel Embiid is a major reason why there’s hope, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

“The thing I get most excited about with Joel is he has such a long ways to go,” coach Brett Brown said. “He is just scratching the surface of what ultimately he’s going to be.”

Embiid remains out as he recovers from knee surgery, but the organization expects him to resume basketball activities this summer.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors are still working to incorporate all their new players, Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun details. The scribe notes that Kyle Lowry, who recently returned to the lineup following a wrist injury, hasn’t yet found a comfort level with new addition Serge Ibaka.
  • Coach Jeff Hornacek admits that the all-in switch to the triangle mid-season may not have been the best move for the Knicks, Al Iannazzone of Newsday relays. “It shouldn’t have been that big of a deal,” Hornacek said. “But from the players’ side they probably thought it was too big a change. We’ll figure what’s best for us, what everybody wants to do and try to go from day one and leave it like that.”
  • If the Celtics are going to make a deep postseason run, they must rediscover their 3-point shot, A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast Sportsnet argues. Marcus Smart, who will be eligible for a rookie extension this offseason, is among the team’s bench players who have struggled from behind the arc since the All-Star break.

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Anderson, Rose

The Sixers may have found a long-term backup to injured big man Joel Embiid in 2015 second-round pick Richaun Holmes. Holmes, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, has thrived given the chance to fill in and step into a larger role.

Holmes has averaged 13.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in just 25.9 minutes per game since the All-Star break, about twice what he contributed for the Sixers prior to it.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown acknowledges the improvement and thinks that Holmes’ success could be here to stay. “I think a lot of the good teams have those lightning-in-the-bottle players that can just change a game,” Brown said. “You know, initially, you are wondering can he be one of those. Is he a duration player? I think since he’s come into the starting five, you are recognizing that there’s more durability.”

  • If the Knicks decide to release Derrick Rose, it will free up $18MM in cap room for them to find a point guard or draft one this offseason. As Bobby Marks of the Vertical explains on Twitter, the pending free agent otherwise has a $30MM cap hold set for this summer. Earlier today we wrote about Rose missing the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus.
  • Though the refs assigned Kyrie Irving a flagrant foul for his shove on Sixers forward Justin Anderson Friday night, the victim doesn’t take it personally. “He was just protecting his teammate, I think he saw LeBron James went down [on the previous play],” Anderson told Joe Noga of Cleveland.com.
  • Second-year forward Justin Anderson is getting his best opportunity to show the Sixers what he’s capable. Anderson has seen his role increase now that Robert Covington has been ruled out for the remainder of the season, writes Brian Seltzer of the Sixers’ official website. “My job is to go out there and make the most of it,” said Anderson. “It’s not to try and become All-Star in this little bit of time. My job is to show that, no matter what, this team can rely on me, I can be consistent, and bring the energy playing defense, rebounding the basketball, and then contributing on offensive end in many different ways.
  • The Celtics have been a model team for rebuilding clubs looking to turn their fates around, Taylor C. Snow of the Celtics’ official site writes. Rival Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek cites the roster full of hard-nosed guys as one of the major reasons behind their success.

Atlantic Notes: Long, VanVleet, Marks, Porzingis

Shawn Long has seized his opportunity with the Sixers; most recently scoring 18 points with seven rebounds in Friday’s win over the Bulls. Coach Brett Brown spoke with Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly about Long’s emergence in the absence of Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel.

“I think that Shawn Long has really grabbed his brief opportunities and been more than serviceable,” Brown said. “He’s shown reasons why he should be considered a genuine NBA player. Opportunity uncovers different qualities in people.”

While Long’s contract is partially guaranteed over the next two seasons, the 24-year-old has asserted his role in the league over the last nine games.

More from around the Atlantic…

  • Fred VanVleet‘s season with the Raptors has affirmed his self-belief. VanVleet, who was disappointed to go undrafted following a successful career at Wichita State, worked his way from Toronto’s summer league squad to their regular season roster. “As a young player, any experience you get is beneficial – even if it’s learning from mistakes,” VanVleet told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. “It does give you some personal satisfaction, proving [you belong in the league] when you’ve known you’re good enough for your whole life and you know all the work that you put in and everybody counted you out. It’s good to know that I wasn’t crazy for believing in myself. It’s nice confirmation.”
  • While Milos Teodosic appears unlikely to sign with the Nets– the Serbian standout cited “competitive ambitions” among his NBA requirements- Brooklyn GM Sean Marks continues to search for Euroleague point guards. NetsDaily detailed Marks’ activities during the GM’s recent trip to Barcelona (article link).
  • Kristaps Porzingis‘ transition to the Knicks‘ primary scoring option has been an “ugly work in progress,” Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. As coach Jeff Hornacek has reduced Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose‘s minutes, Porzingis has faced significant expectations in running the offense. “Porzingis is a helluva player, but he’s young,’’ Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after Monday’s match-up with New York. “You just don’t walk into the league and change. He’s going to be a superstar. There’s not any doubt. But there’s not a lot of patience from what I remember when I played in New York. We’re going to have to allow him to be great.’’

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Embiid, Crowder

Add one more intriguing young big man to Philadelphia’s seemingly endless frontcourt log jam. Which is a good thing, we suppose.  The improved play of 2015 second-round pick Richaun Holmes of late has ignited conversation that not only could the Sixers have their backup center of the future, but – per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer – a possible starter.

In the Sixers’ last five games, Holmes has averaged 14.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.8 steals per game – or roughly 22.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes. What’s more, the Sixers have won three out of those five to boot.

You can count on him,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said of the 23-year-old. “Those effort, energy sort of type things are the reliable part of his game. The other things [three-point shooting, making open 18-footers] at times are outliers and really tip him over the top when he starts doing those other things.

Pompey isn’t the only local reporter to praise the upstart second-year big man. Jessica Camerato of CSN Philadelphia spoke with teammate Justin Anderson about Holmes recent play for the Sixers.

He’s a beast,” Anderson said. “I’ve [seen] that for a while. I remember watching him in summer league. He plays extremely hard, and then now he’s shooting the three, his ability to just dunk on people. He’s really good. He’s a really good player. I’m happy for him. When he gets going like that, we’re a tough team.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Injured Sixers rookie Joel Embiid is back in Philadelphia while the information from his time rehabilitating his knee in California is reviewed. Jessica Camerato of CSN Philadelphia tweets that there has been no timetable for the next steps.
  • That rebounder the Celtics were said to desperately need could very well be right under their nose. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England suggests that forward Jae Crowder could be just that. Blakely writes that Crowder has averaged 7.7 rebounds per game since the All-Star Break.
  • Both Brett Brown and Brad Stevens were hired as head coaches four years ago but the rebuilding processes that the Sixers and Celtics have taken ever since differ, Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Cooney suggests that the C’s have had the leg up all along because they started with a better base.

 

Sixers Notes: Long, Brown, TLC, Anderson, Embiid

Shawn Long is likely to stick with the Sixers after his 10-day contract expires, Jessica Camerato of CSN reports. Long, whose contract expires Wednesday, has earned the respect of coach Brett Brown.

“I think we’re going through that,” Brown said of making a decision on Long’s contract. “It wouldn’t surprise me. I have no desire, personally, to look elsewhere. He’s a part of what we’ve been doing.”

“We feel like he’s ours. His ability to step out and make a three, his ability to have a finesse move at a post, he does have length, he does play hard, he is fluid in his movements. All those things give you hope that maybe there is a place for him. He’s young, he’s a good young man, he works. There’s really nothing but positives that come to my mind when you mention his name.”

As Camerato mentions, the health of Tiago Splitter may influence the team’s decision to tender Long another contract. As Keith Pompey of Philly.com recently reported, the team was considering working Splitter out with the Delaware 87ers.

More from the City of Brotherly Love…

  • While injuries have decimated the Sixers’ lineup, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has impressed in his rookie season, Bob Cooney of Philly.com writes. “Luwawu-Cabarrot isn’t all the way there yet, but he has turned his game into something that could be very complementary next season,” Cooney writes. “He uses his athleticism very well on both ends of the court, and for a team that is always going to be in need of perimeter defense, that is a huge asset. His floor vision has improved to the point where he is a legitimate triple threat when the ball is in his hands. He hasn’t even really had the chance to play with Embiid yet, which could be so helpful in opening lanes and giving more time for jumpers.”
  • Deadline acquisition Justin Anderson held a Q&A with Ed Barkowitz of Philly.com. Anderson claimed to have “gotten over” the shock of being traded, and now embraces a “great opportunity” in Philadelphia. “Here, they have high expectations for me. I’m willing to grind and work. It’s a young team that’s going to play hard and fast.”
  • Anderson also relayed a funny tidbit about Joel Embiid, who he tried to recruit for the University of Virginia: “I tried to recruit him to come to Virginia. I was his host when he came on his official visit. Downstairs (from the dorm), there was big glass windows and he didn’t see the glass and he just walked right into it. It was hilarious. But the cool thing came when I asked him what he wanted to do. Do you want to go out? Do you want to get food? Movies? He said, “I’m just trying to go to the gym.” So it was like 12 o’clock at night and we went back to the gym to get some work in. It was impressive.”
  • Coach Brown has proven himself as the leader of this team, Keith Pompey of Philly.com writes. While there are still questions about Brown’s long-term future within the organization, some coaches around the league are “amazed” he’s managed a 23-42 record. “I think he should be coach of the year,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “You talk about all the players that are out with injuries, but every day, he is upbeat, he’s teaching, he’s coaching, and he’s trying to put his team in a position to win. I am a big fan of coach Brown.”

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Splitter, Brown, Silver

Despite a lingering knee injury, Jahlil Okafor hasn’t considered shutting down his season, Jessica Camerato of CSN reports (Twitter link). Okafor’s been experiencing soreness ever since a March 2016 surgery, but the former No. 3 overall pick will be relied upon in Nerlens Noel‘s and Joel Embiid‘s absence.

“We just rest and do treatment whenever we think is necessary, and just go from there.” Okafor told Keith Pompey of Philly.com.

More from Philadelphia…

  • Tiago Splitter could spend part of his rehabilitation process with the Delaware 87ers, as Keith Pompey relayed in the article linked above. Splitter, who has been sidelined with a calf injury all season, was acquired in exchange for Ersan Ilyasova at the trade deadline. “We are discussing his return to play. Some of it could look like involvement with D-League stuff, practicing, maybe playing,” coach Brett Brown said. “It’s a vehicle to return to play. He hasn’t played basketball for a year. I think the path to return to play can take different looks. That’s one of them that I just suggested.”
  • Commissioner Adam Silver told Brian Seltzer of NBA.com that he is excited about the Sixers’ progress this season. “It’s fun coming to games here. Just as I was walking through the tunnel pre-game, I ran into Allen Iverson and Julius Erving. [It’s] nice to see that they’re back, they’re believers, and I am, too,” Silver said. “This is a great sports town. Understandably, the fans are very demanding here. They expect to see a great product on the floor. I know the ownership is committed to that. It takes time to build a great franchise.”
  • The Sixers have shifted their focus toward acquiring a top lottery draft pick, Keith Pompey of Philly.com writes. After shipping out Ilyasova and Noel at the deadline, they’ve recently given playing opportunities to Justin Harper and Shawn Long“The realities of our roster are very clear to everybody. There’s no mystery to what our roster is right now,” coach Brown said. “It’s going to take some extra effort and extra luck in finding ways to compete.”
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