Delayed Sixers Draft Reaction and Other General Thoughts

It’s been a month since my last post, and a ton has happened in that time. I would’ve written sooner about the Sixers draft, but due to heavy workload and vacation, just didn’t find enough time to properly share what I thought on certain matters.

I’ll have a write up coming soon about my recent baseball trip to San Francisco and Seattle (Spoiler: It was a great trip).  And by soon, I mean sometime in the next one to three months.

But let’s get to it, starting with the Sixers draft and summer league.

All year long, I thought the Sixers were going to end up with two very good young basketball players to watch on the court next season with their two lottery picks. And by all accounts, they did get two very talented players. One problem: they probably won’t take the floor this year.

I’m totally on board with the Sixers rebuilding plan and really believe in what Sam Hinkie is doing. But I won’t lie, to not get a Wiggins, Parker, Vonleh or even a Stauskus to watch next year is just disappointing.

Who knows, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, could become the best two picks from the 2014 Draft in the future. But these two won’t play together until 2016-2017 at the earliest.

I made my point before the draft when Embiid hurt his foot, and I made it clear I wanted no part of him. Now, that I’ve had time to reflect, there’s no point in being disappointed in the pick, I mean all signs had him going No.1 to Cleveland and Jay Bilas and other experts called him the best talent. I’m not even gonna look at the injury stuff, I’m just going to keep focusing on his unlimited potential and what he can do to help bring the Sixers back to relevance. The team is in no hurry to contend, so there’s not a lot of pressure for him to hurry back and get on the court. Take all the time you need, Joel. Plus the guy’s a hell of a tweeter and an absolute must follow.

I think I just really underestimated how long of a rebuilding process this will be, and how patient Sixers fans could be.

But on the bright side. Nerlens Noel looked great in his summer league stints from what I read. And yes, it’s summer league and not a ton can be gleaned to determine future NBA success, but it’s all we have right now. Jordan McRae and KJ McDaniels, two players I know next to nothing about, also proved to be players to monitor, due to their strong efforts.

While I’ll once again be rooting for the Sixers to finish in the bottom of the standings, I think it will be fun to root to watch all these young players develop as well as hoping Hinkie can turn his abundance of cap space into acquiring a future first round pick.

LeBron’s Return to Cleveland

A stunner. I couldn’t believe it when I read Zach Lowe’s tweet at work. I thought he was joking around or something. But man, I was captivated and had a hard time focusing on work the rest of the day. Good for Cleveland and now they can stop having the NBA rig lotteries winning the top pick in the draft every year.

Even if he was the only major free agent signing, after speculation had Melo to the Lakers and Bosh to the Rockets, it is a seismic shift in the NBA landscape.

Add in Pau Gasol to the Bulls, Luol Deng to the Heat and Lance Stephenson to the Hornets, and the Eastern Conference is wildly intriguing and wide open, even if it’s still miles away from the West.

The Professional Baseball Team that Players Home Games in Citizens Bank Park

What a sad mess. It shouldn’t have come to this point, there’s so much blame at fault, and while the general manager deserves a heavy burden, it’s a total organizational failure.

They had such a good thing going for a five year period, how could they screw it up so badly?

Two weeks ago, if you gave me the choice between a Sixers summer league game, WITHOUT Nerlens on the court and a Phillies regular season game(yeah I actually mentioned their name) I would go Sixers 10 times out of 10.

I’ll try to look into this more in the future to see how it went so terrible wrong.

 Flyers Off-Season Activity

If you blinked you must have missed it, just like I did. Other than trading Scott Hartnell and his bad contract for RJ Umberger and his slightly worse contract, there hasn’t been any significant moves. Sorry RJ but I don’t think you’re the missing piece that we we’re hoping would bring the Stanley Cup back to Philly.

Thanks for the Vinny contract, Homer and let me give you a sarcastic thanks in advance for the Andrew McDonald deal. You don’t have to be a NHL cap geek to know that won’t work out well.

Really looking forward to seeing what  Ron Hextell can do to regain some cap flexibility and hopefully bring the team closer to being a top contender. Unfortunately, it’s going to take awhile.

At least Flyers fans booed the hell out of Gary Bettman at the draft.

James Franklin is a Recruiting Machine

I’ve never followed college football recruiting this closely before, probably because Penn State has never hasn’t had recruiting success like this in a long time. While the team is probably in store for another 7-5 8-4 season, Franklin has me extremely excited for the long-term future. And he’s from Langhorne, which makes it even better.

While it will suck missing most of the games (I’m taking off for the Oct. 25 whiteout against OHio State, no way I’m missing that bad boy) I’m really looking forward to seeing how Franklin’s first season plays out, and if he can maintain the stability BOB left behind.

 Eagles Training Camp Begins

My Thoughts

NBA Draft Night!

Good god man, it’s finally here!!! The NBA Draft is Finally Here!! And guess what, the Sixers aren’t going to get Andrew Wiggins!!!

Ok, I don’t really need multiple exclamation marks after that last sentence, but you already knew I Was being sarcastic.

I’ve accepted the fact that #winlessforwiggins was a colossal waste of time and Twitter character (you only get 140 you know).

And to think, if Joel Embiid’s foot could have just held up two more weeks…

But as I said last week, as much as I like Wiggins, I’d like to see the Sixers keep their two first round picks and reap a bountiful harvest along with some of their five second rounders.

The moment is finally here (and my toilet is on the fritz, again) so I have to keep this short.

 

Let’s do this Hinkie!!

 

Joel Embiid Injury Reaction, Sixers are Screwed(I think)

Stomach punch.

That’s what it felt like to have read the news this morning that Embiid, the probable No.1 selection for Cleveland in next week’s draft has suffered a foot injury, seemingly dashing the hopes and dreams of Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins falling to No.3.

There’s just no way that Cleveland screws up this year by taking a definitely* injury prone center. I think they go with Jabari and play it safe.

*His back was the big worry, but now he’s got a foot injury and while the severity has yet to be determined although he definitely needs surgery. Two serious injuries in a four-month span? No thank you, he’s officially a major injury concern.

For the last several weeks, everything was going to plan. Embiid at one, Parker at two and Wiggins to the Sixers at three.

No, while it’s not impossible, it’s just highly unlikely. I really don’t want the Sixers to give up 3 and 10 to move up to the top slot for Wiggins, as much as I want him on the team next year. They need players, it’s a simple as that and in a deep draft such as this one, getting two good players instead of one elite talent is the opposite of terrible.

Of course, things could still break differently and Embiid’s foot injury might not be terribly serious. *Update: it’s a stress fracture and that is serious. Embiid isn’t even attending the draft and his status for next season is in question.

Even though Hinkie drafted Nerlens Noel and redshirted him last season, I can’t see him doing that with Embiid. As much upside as he may have, this foot injury is a game changer and he may never develop into the talent many expect. Plus, Noel was already rehabbing an ACL, an inury that has a more predictable recovery time. If the Sixers weren’t tanking so hard, he probably would’ve played some games last year.

For a draft that was already hugely anticipated, this latest curveball makes the buildup more fascinating or intolerable depending on how you look at it. (I’m leaning intolerable, I just need to get it over with).

I’m assuming Wiggins, and Parker are gone in the top two, leaving Noah Vonleh, and Dante Exum as the two primary targets at No.3. I’d go Vonleh over Exum but then again, Exum is such a wildcard.

There’s also the trade option and Hinkie has already proven that he likes trading. A lot. And in his one night of trading on Draft Night, he made out OK.

Could the Cavs pass on Wiggins and Parker to try to get 3 and 10 from the Sixers and then offer them in a package to Minnesota for Kevin Love? Even though their pursuit of LeBron is futile. they seemingly have to do anything it takes to become competitive again. It’s a long shot, at best now thanks to Embiid’s injury.

But enough already. While today’s news is disappointing, there’s no reason to react until the draft is over. One agonizingly long week from tonight.

 

Delayed Reaction: Sixers Get the 3rd and 10th Picks in the NBA Draft

So far so good.

That’s what I tweeted at one point this past Tuesday as the lottery moved up towards the top three spots, slowly but surely eliminating teams not named the Sixers.

After it was revealed the Magic would be selecting fourth, I did one of my patented awkad white-guy-who-fortunately-for-him-lives-alone-and-nobody-will-ever-have-to-see dance moves.

So yes, I was excited.

Of course, that excitement was tempered immediately after the lottery returned from commercial to show that the Sixers would be selecting third, or right where I thought they’d be picking.

I wasn’t dissapointed, more relieved it was over and they have a chance to get one of Wiggins. Parker or Embiid.

The real outrage or frustration was when Cleveland improbably won the damn thing again.

I would’ve rather almost the Lakers or Celtics “won” the lottery rather than seeing Cleveland get rewarded for the third time in four years. If there’s ever a reason for a new draft system. it’s not just tanking, it’s the fact a team can win the No.1 pick so often.

The Sixers are going to get two very good players in this draft if they simply stay at 3 and 10. Of course, if Hinkie goes on another trading spree, it’s likely the Sixers could come away with even more.

The combinations of players I want the Sixers to come away with are endless; after June 26 is over I seriously doubt I’ll be hating their haul.

While Wiggins is still my preferred choice, I won’t be mad with either Parker or Embiid (who I’m slowly becoming more in favor of the more I read about him).

Then, I would really like to see the Sixers come away with one of the three power forwards Julius Randle. Noah Vonleh, or Aaron Gordon.

Gordon would be preferable if they drafted Parker, because he has elite defensive abilities and could probably make up for Parker’s deficiencies.

Likewise, if the Sixers get Wiggins, then Randle would probably be the best compliment because he’s more NBA ready and would give more consistency and Wiggins continues to work on his offensive game.

Still we’re a loooooong way off.

To come away with any sort of these combinations the Sixers will likely have to move into the top 7, something not out of the realm of reality as How Roseman would say.

The conjecture is only just beginning and with exactly a month until the draft, there will probably be countless rumors of Wiggins. Parker, or Embiid going in the first slot.

Thankfully from my vantage point, it appears the Sixers really can’t lose no matter how it all shakes out.

The NBA Draft Lottery Has Arrived

Photo: Grantland

Photo: Grantland

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the 2013-2014 Philadelphia 76ers season!

In all seriousness, this is really what every Sixers fan has been waiting for since the 2013 Draft, when it became evident the team was punting the actual basketball portion of this season away as part one of a several year rebuild.

I know the lottery has been the event I’ve been looking forward too since it will finally clear up which talent we can finally place in a 76ers uniform. The draft is just a formality, the drama is all in the ping pong balls. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to a non-athletic event sporting event more than this lottery.

The good news is that the Sixers, who currently have the second highest percentages of landing the top pick, can do no worse than five.  And there are definitely five terrific players available if not more.

Of course, the worry is that they fall out of the top three and miss out on the opportunity for Wiggins and Parker. I don’t really want any part of Embiid and I don’t believe there’s any chance Wiggins and Parker will not go 1-2 when it’s all said and done on June 26.

Obviously Wiggins is my preferred pick for this team, I’ve watched almost all of his college games and while he may not have been as productive as Parker, he seems like his upside is greater, plus he plays better defense.

While I will be satisfied with Wiggins or Parker, I’ll be happy with Julius Randle or Aaron Gordon too.

The thing is, since the Sixers are likely to get the Pelicans pick (No.10) coming out of this draft with two very good prospects, say Randle and Gary Harris, is just as good, if not better than walking away with only Wiggins or Parker.

I’m not expecting them to land a top two pick, in part because of the sheer nature how how the lottery is rigged in favor of team’s the league wants to see succeed, such an unpredictable beast and two, the Sixers performed the greatest tank job in modern sports history this year. I kinda think karma might come back and bite them for that.

**The Basketball Gods can only watch a five man rotation of Eric Maynor, Byron Mullens, James Anderson, Henry Sims and poor, poor Thad Young before they start getting suspicious.**

**Also, I don’t know if the above was an actual combination of basketball talent for the Sixers at one point this season, but the sad part is you probably believed it to be true didn’t you?

All year long I’ve felt like they will end up at No.3, so I’ll leave that as my official prediction.

All I know is all those hours reading Chad Ford’s scouting reports and mock drafts as well as highlight videos, college basketball games and playing with ESPN’s Lottery Mock Draft simulator will finally pay off come Tuesday evening.

And while it will be disappointing not to come away with the top pick, when it comes to the unpredictable NBA Draft lottery, one of the few guarantees is that it will be a successful night for the Sixers no matter how it plays out.

 

Eagles Select Louisville Linebacker Marcus Smith

Ummm. Ok?

Pretty much everyone’s reaction to them taking the linebacker/defensive end from Louisville last night.

Smith seems like a promising prospect, one that has the qualities of what Chip looks for, but not one expected in the first round. My whole belief heading into the draft all along was take best defensive player available in round one and if Smith is the guy, so be it. But I’m still a bit puzzled by the selection, as are most fans.

It feels like a reach to me, but I really hope I’m wrong. I’ve never seen him play and only have read a decent bit about him in the pre-draft coverage.   I’m still pretty dissapointed they didn’t move up a couple of slots and take Clinton-Dix and they possibly could have if they had their normal allotment of 7-8 picks.

MY takeaway from last night though was this: If the Eagles really wanted Clinton-Dix or Marqise Lee they would’ve taken them. End of story.

I was pleased that they traded down and got an extra third from the Browns, who must have thought the Vikings were going to try to grab Manziel. Otherwise, why waste a third to move up four spots? Somewhat bizarre.

Ultimately, it seems like Smith is a solid prospect and has the potential to be a good pass rusher in time, which is something the Eagles really need, so I’ll talk myself into liking the pick in time.

View his highlights below.  Welcome to Philadelphia Marcus Smith!

 

NFL Draft Day is Finally Here

Finally.

The wait and anticipation of this year’s draft has been just too much. Unfortuntely, that’s exactly what the NFL wants to hear.

Regardless of the NFL’s silly ploy for extra revenue and attention, I still love the draft. It’s one of the my favorite days on the sports calendar and the fact there is still no clear pick at the number one overall spot and more importantly to me, at No.22 where a certain team that dons awesome Kelly Green  midnight green uniforms resides.

Last night, while running through the draft possibilities for the semmingly ten billionth time, I finally discovered my dream draft sceneario.

Snag Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at 22 and hopefully secure the backend of the secondary for the next decade plus.

Then, trade second and third round picks in this year’s draft to the fat guy in the red suit in Kansas City(I still like Andy Reid, but couldn’t pass up that description) for the 23rd overall pick and take Marqise Lee.

Yes. you’ll lose the opportunity to build depth, but I’m also assuming the Eagles will move Brandon Graham or Vinny Curry for later round picks to get a draft pick back.

Of course the problem with that scenario is that it’s unlikely Clinton-Dix falls to 22 and I don’t think the Chiefs would move back so far and pass up a talent like Lee if available.

Realistically the name that’s been stuck in my head for weeks now has been Virginia Tech corner Kyle Fuller and I’d be fine with that, as he’s versatile and is very good in coverage, even if he’s not a turnover forcing machine.

Honestly, I think my ideal preference for this draft is just take the best defensive player available in round one and then take a wide receiver in round two. Don’t really care what they choose to do in the later rounds.

Oh, and before I forget and am fined by the NFL for not mentioning Johnathan Football, I think he’ll be a good pro, but no way should the Eagles draft him.

The Eagles have produced two solid drafts in a row and hopefully they can make it three. There’s a part of me that thinks they have something big up their sleeves, but with only six picks a major trade up just doesn’t seem feasible.

The one thing I do know is that I’m beyond relieved that I can stop looking at mock drafts and experience the real thing finally.