Tag Archives: Philadelphia 76ers

NBA All Stars: Who should the starters be?

The NBA All star voting concluded on Monday leaving some people with questions as to how legitimate the voting system has become in the NBA. Golden State Warriors Center Zaza Pachulia has racked up enough votes to possibly become the Western Conference stater at the 5 position. Over 21 million votes have been cast in this years voting, which is a 142% increase from last years game. The starters are determined by voting that is combined from the fans (50%), players (25%), and the media (25%). The starters for the All Star game will be chosen tonight on TNT on a special edition of NBA tip off. We pick who SHOULD start the game.

Eastern conference:

Guards:

NBA: DEC 23 Knicks at Cavaliers : News Photo

Kyrie Irving

Irving is averaging 23.6 points per game along with 5.6 assists. During the season, Irving has put Lebron in the backseat for some clutch moments including the dagger on Christmas day against Golden State. One of the best young players in the game, Irving is the best point guard in the Eastern Conference.

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Isaiah Thomas

Thomas is averaging 28.7 points per game combined with 6 assists. This season, Isaiah has put the team on his back which has garnered him the nickname “King of the Fourth”. Thomas has taken over games time and time again averaging the most points in the 4th quarter in the NBA.

Frontcourt:

Washington Wizards vs Cleveland Cavaliers : News Photo

Lebron James

James is obviously a shoe in to be an all star because he is the BEST player in the league, no questions asked. James is averaging 25.6 points, 8.1 assist, and 7.8 rebounds per game. James can do anything on a basketball court, he has great court vision and superior athletic ability making him the most dangerous player in the game.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Greek Freak jumped onto the scene last year with some impressive highlights, but this season he has really turned into a fantastic player. Giannis is averaging 23.7 points, 5.6 assists, and 8.7 rebounds per game. He has shown is freakish athleticism time and time again this year with highlight reel dunks. The 22 year old has a very bright future.

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Joel Embiid

Embiid is the first draft pick to somewhat look like he is going to pan out like they planned. Embiid is leading the Sixers, averaging 19.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. “The Process” is dominating the game down low.

Western Conference:

Guards:

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James Harden

Harden is my favorite for MVP right now. He’s taken an average Rockets team and made them one of the best teams in the league. Harden is averaging 28.9 points, 11.6 assists, and 8.3 rebounds per game. The former backup to Russell Westbrook has moved past him for best point guard in the Western Conference. Harden controls the game and limits his turnovers making everyone around him better.

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Russell Westbrook

There are really no words to explain what Russell Westbrook is doing to the league this year. Although his turnover numbers could be much better, you can’t ignore his stats, 30.6 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.6 rebounds per game. Averaging a triple double has been damn near impossible in the NBA. But if he continues down this road, it could go down as one of the best statistical season ever.

Frontcourt:

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Kevin Durant

Durant has received a lot of hate for he offseason move to the Warriors. It has not gone as well as some people imagined, but Durant’s play has been consistent as he had a 40 point outburst last night against his former team in the Oracle. On a team with a ton of scorers, Durant is still averaging 26.7 points per game on top of 4.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds.

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Kawhi Leonard

Arguably one of the most underrated players in the NBA, Kawhi Leonard has become THE guy in San Antonio. He is the complete package, an excellent defender, paired with ability to score at will. Leonard has become a top tier player in the West. His stats aren’t indicative of how important he is to the team, with 24.8 points, 3.1 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game.

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Anthony Davis

Davis is a premier player in the NBA. He is the best center in the NBA and is carrying an awful team down in New Orleans. Davis is averaging 28.8 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. If you could start your franchise with one player, this guy has to be close to the top of the list because he is a fantastic talent in the NBA.

Tune in to NBA Tip off on TNT tonight to see which players receive the honor of starting in this year’s All Star game.

 

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Joel Embiid Needs Your All-Star Vote… So He Can Date Rihanna

Joel Embiid has been raining in buckets so fast this season that you might need an umbrella around him. He makes fans want to stomp on the replay with his highlight reel moves. He really has been putting in some work, work, work, work, work.

Yes, Joel Embiid has shined bright like a diamond so far this season, and his play has garnered him some all-star attention. Fans account for half of the vote in this year’s contest, and Embiid is making an impressive push toward a roster spot. A selection would make Embiid the 46th rookie to achieve All-Star status, but that’s not what is on the 7-footer’s mind.

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Back in June 2014, Embiid reached out to well-known recording artist Rihanna on Twitter to confess his love and ask her on a date. It isn’t extremely clear how Rihanna responded, but we do know that she didn’t respond with a date. Poor Joel spent the next few years riding the Sixers bench while recovering from a lengthy foot injury, missing two full seasons while the 76ers sat at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Now, however, Embiid is bouncing back. He is currently the best player on the 76ers (some would say he runs this town), and he’s been getting some serious consideration to represent to the Eastern Conference in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.

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Embiid’s solid start to his rookie campaign has gained him a lot of media attention, with a lot of it focusing on his chances for Rookie of the Year. This honor, however would not be enough for his quest.

“Rookie of the year would be great, but I don’t think it’s going to help me get to my crush. Hopefully, the All-Star Game I’ll get to do that.”

In order to help make a push for All-Star status, Embiid has been pulling out all the stops. Last night, he turned his attention to one of our nation’s more gullible audiences- Trump supporters.

Embiid, who might be the most social-media savvy athlete in Philly sports history, threw up a tweet that seemingly shows Donald Trump’s endorsement for his All-Star bid:

wjw

This isn’t the first time a run-of-the-mill NBA player has tried going after Rihanna. Back in 2015, Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes (then with the Memphis Grizzlies) made Rihanna his #WCW on Instagram and told reporters their relationship was “just past the crush stage.” Embiid seems to be playing the underdog role off a lot better than Barnes, who just kind of creepily lied about dating her.

It would definitely be the biggest upset of the year if Embiid gets enough votes to earn a spot in the All-Star game and go on a date with Rihanna. If anyone thought 2016 was a strange year, 2017 could be off to a hot start very soon if Embiid can turn his fantasy into reality.

 

 

2016-17 NBA Expectations Meter: Atlantic Division

Rather than simply previewing each team heading into the 2016-17 NBA season, we analyzed each team and created what a successful season would look like for each franchise. Obviously, the bar is much lower for some than others (spoiler alert: the 76ers and Warriors do not have the same expectations), but each team has goals to work toward.

We begin this week with the Atlantic Division; home to the Celtics, Nets, Knicks, 76ers and Raptors. Two out of these five teams made the playoffs last year, and with other Eastern Conference teams such as the Pistons, Hornets and Wizards looking to take the next step, it is hard to envision three teams getting in from this division.

Perhaps the most interesting storyline to follow in the Atlantic Division is if any of the bad teams from last year can rise to challenge the incumbent playoff teams. The Toronto Raptors finished first with a 56-26 record, followed by the Boston Celtics at 48-34. After that, there is a stark drop-off; the Knicks, Nets and 76ers formed the basement of the Eastern Conference standings last season. In fact, those three teams combined for 63 wins, which is still 10 shy of the Golden State Warriors’ record setting season. Without further ado, here is each Atlantic Division team and their benchmark this year.

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Boston Celtics

                                  2015-16                                     2016-17
                                     48-34                                      53-29
              Lost to ATL in RD1 (6 Games)                           Conference Finals
                  2nd in Atlantic Division                       1st in Atlantic Division

The Atlantic Division in 2016-17 is going to essentially be a toss-up between the Celtics and Raptors. The biggest influence in that is going to be how quickly Al Horford settles into his new team. You may notice that our expectations for the Celtics, like the Raptors, is the Conference Finals. Only one of these teams is going to end up there. The Raptors are the known commodity, while the Celtics appear to be on the fringe of something good.

Losing in six games to the Hawks last season has to go down as a disappointment for Brad Stevens and company, and they will likely use that as fire to achieve better things this season. The Celts lost Evan Turner this offseason, and it has been reported that Marcus Smart will look to fill that void off the bench. The Celtics got rid of the underachieving Jared Sullinger, who was picked up by the Raptors. The Celtics will have to hope that he doesn’t find his stride with Toronto, meanwhile they have upgraded significantly in that department with the acquisition of Al Horford.

Though we have big expectations for the Boston Celtics this season, it is easy to envision them not playing out. This is a pivotal year for the Brad Stevens era, and there is a tremendous amount of pressure on them to perform. As stated earlier, a lot of this rests on the shoulders of Al Horford, but we have seen previously that big names coming to the merciless media market of Boston don’t always have the best track record.

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Toronto Raptors

          2015-16                2016-17
             56-26                   52-30
 Lost to CLE in CF (6 Games) Conference Finals (7 Games)
1st in Atlantic Division    2nd in Atlantic Division

The Toronto Raptors find themselves in a tough position as far as expectations go. Coming off a season in which they set franchise records for wins and lost in six games to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals, the only way they can really improve drastically is my making the NBA Finals. That is a tough task, considering last time we checked, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are still in Cleveland and they aren’t going anywhere.

In the offseason, the Raptors lost big-man Bismack Biyombo, but gained Jared Sullinger and re-signed DeMar DeRozan for $25 million over five years.

It is very unfair to expect the Raptors to dethrone Cleveland yet, but at the very least they could set themselves to be the next team up. If they are able to beat Cleveland, they will have exceeded our expectations, but for now, a hard-fought seven game series is their benchmark.

 

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New York Knicks

                                 2015-16                                   2016-17
                                    32-50                                    44-38
                  13th in Eastern Conference                        Make the Playoffs
                     3rd in Atlantic Division                   3rd in Atlantic Division

According to Derrick Rose, the Knicks are a super team, right? Anybody? Well, Mr. Rose was a little off on that one, but we do envision the Knicks taking a step forward in 2016-17. How could they not? They brought in Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and several other players, and got rid of some lackluster players like Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez. That’s not to say the Knicks are going to be a great team this year, but they could be fun as hell to watch.

If there’s one glaring issue for the Knicks, it is Derrick Rose’s off-the-court distraction. Rose is currently tangled up in a rape lawsuit, and if he is declared guilty, the Knicks season is already derailed. So much of what they are hoping to do this year revolves around Rose recapturing some of the magic of early in his career, and an off-the court distraction is not how the Knicks hoped to start this season.

The problem for the Knicks is also a long-term sustainability issue. This team as currently constructed only has a couple “good” (if you even want to call it that) seasons in them. After that, Carmelo Anthony will be old, Rose will be washed up, and Joakim Noah will be a non-factor if he isn’t already this year.

The best thing that could happen for the Knicks is Kristaps Porzingis having an MVP-worthy season. If he can establish himself as a superstar in the NBA over the course of the next few seasons, the Knicks have something to build around. Until then, they will tread water in the bottom of the playoff picture.

Screen Shot 2016-10-11 at 4.46.46 PM.png Philadelphia 76ers

                              2015-16                                   2016-17
                                10-72                                   32-50
                 15th in Eastern Conference                              12th or Better
                     5th in Atlantic Division                      4th in Atlantic Division

I think we’re all in agreement that it can’t get any worse for the 76ers, right? They’re gaining (finally) Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, a couple long-awaited 2014 first-rounders. In addition, we might get to see a little bit of Ben Simmons, but that remains to be seen.

The new faces on the court signify progress for the Sixers’ “Trust the Process” rebuild, which is notorious for being the longest rebuild in NBA history (we think). Even if Embiid turns into Greg Oden and Saric plays like Dirk Nowitski’s uncoordinated little brother, it would be hard for the 76ers to do worse than last season. This is actually the first year in a long time that people don’t have the Sixers finishing last, and I guess that’s a good thing for 76ers fans. Maybe they’ll hit the lottery again and get another top ten pick that might see the court by 2020.

All joking aside, a core of Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons could be halfway decent. All the 76ers have to do is make it work effectively.

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Brooklyn Nets

                              2015-16                                       2016-17
                                  21-61                                         25-57
                 14th in Eastern Conference                                 13th or Better
                   4th in Atlantic Division                      5th in Atlantic Division

Wait, shouldn’t that be spelled the BrookLin Nets? The only real move the Nets made this off-season was bringing in Jeremy Lin from the Charlotte Hornets, and that means this is going to be a long season. The lowly 76ers will now be breathing down the Nets’ neck with an improved roster, and it will be hard for Brooklyn to even stay out of the Atlantic Division basement.

The 25-57 record above is something the Nets should strive for, but in all reality, it will be an uphill climb. The Nets look poised to be potentially the worst team in the Eastern Conference, and no amount of crazy Jeremy Lin hairstyles or missed layup attempts can change this.

The Nets, however, are bringing in a new coach, which could be a reason for excitement. Kenny Atkinson is seen as a players’ coach, but we will see how that holds up throughout the course of a long season and many losses. Until then, keep trying Brooklyn. They don’t give participation awards in the NBA.

 

Are We There Yet? Ben Simmons Saga Sets Sixers Rebuild Back Yet Again

For the past five years, being a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers has felt a lot like being stuck in traffic on I-95 on the way to Six Flags. The end of the journey holds so much promise, a young core with so much potential, yet injuries, stubborn European teams and overprotective agents have set the project back to a slow, crawling pace.

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Once again, the Sixers have met with a most unfortunate circumstance; Ben Simmons has undergone surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The injury is particularly hard to swallow, as it occurred just before the start of preseason. Furthermore, there are now rumors circulating that Simmons’ agent Rich Paul wants to keep him off the court for the entire 2016-17 season. This would be a huge loss for a team that was expected to finally take a leap forward in their rebuilding process.

The bulk of the 76ers rebuild began back in 2013, when the Sixers acquired Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round pick for Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson. Noel’s 2013-14 season was the first of many disappointments in the 76ers rebuild; he missed the entire year recovering from knee surgery.

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In the 2014 draft, the 76ers took Joel Embiid, a seven-footer out of Kansas. Since then, he’s sat on the bench eating onion rings and hasn’t seen any game action whatsoever. Supposedly, he’s fully healthy and ready to play this year, but I won’t believe it until I see it. Perhaps the worst thing about Embiid, however, is just because he is now fully healthy, doesn’t mean he’s going to be any good. This guy has very little basketball experience, and early reports from 76ers scrimmages indicate that he appears rusty. Just because a guy is seven feet tall and played well in college doesn’t mean he can play in the NBA, heck, Greg Oden got cut by the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association earlier this year.

In that same draft, the Sixers traded for another rookie who has yet to see an NBA Court, Dario Saric. Another big man, Saric stands at 6’10”, and comes to Philadelphia from Turkey. Because of the aforementioned Simmons injury, Saric could be in line for big minutes in the first half of the season. It’s difficult to project the impact Saric can have in the NBA, but the silver lining is that he isn’t coming off two years of inactivity like Embiid. Rather, Saric has been waiting for this moment for several years now, and with the Simmons injury, Brett Brown will really be able to get a good look at the young prospect.

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Then, there’s Jahlil Okafor. Heading into the 2015-16 season, Okafor seemed like the Sixers’ savior. As the season progressed, it seemed as though Okafor regressed and began to blend in with the other flawed young prospects on the 76ers roster. Heaping onto the other concerns about Okafor, its almost impossible to bring his name up without trade talks, and one has to wonder how long he will even be playing in a Sixers’ uniform.

Finally, there’s Ben Simmons. Coming into the league with comparisons to none other than King James himself, Simmons was going to be the butane that finally ignited the Sixers. Nope. While the possibility of that still exists for the future, the injury, surgery, and agent rumors have delayed Philly’s next ray of hope yet another year.

The onslaught of setbacks suffered by all of these players highlight a fatal flaw in the 76ers’ rebuilding plan: are we even sure any of these guys are good? It’s one thing to trade for Al Horford or DeMarcus Cousins, those are known commodities. The 76ers are banking their entire future on players that haven’t even proven they can make an NBA roster, and there is no veteran presence to man the ship among the turbulent tides. Andre Igoudala? Gone. With a ring, by the way. Jrue Holiday? Traded to the Pelicans for the confusing and occasionally underwhelming Nerlins Noel. Even Michael-Carter Williams, a player who would be considered a young guy on most NBA rosters, could’ve been valuable leadership through the 76ers’ horrific 2014-15 and 15-16 seasons. While other rebuilding teams like the Celtics solidified their roster with veteran players while building a young core, the 76ers let Sam Hinkie perform the NBA version of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and systematically screw everything up year after year.

As a 76ers fan, I will watch the beginning of this season hoping, no, pleading that Joel Embiid and Dario Saric somehow become the great players that they were prognosticated to be, while also knowing in the back of my head that we’re in for another year of “next year”.

 

NBA: 5 Most Interesting Teams to Watch in 2016-17

Now that September is here, the NBA off-season that brought us more twists and turns than a sketchy carnival ride is nearing a close. Between KD, Derrick Rose, Al Horford and others, there is a whole lot to digest before the 2016-17 season gets underway. Being the inquisitive people we are here at Fan Interference, we set out to rank the 5 most interesting teams to watch in the upcoming season. Keep in mind this isn’t about wins and losses. Just because something is going to be ugly doesn’t mean it won’t be fun to kick back and watch. Why do you think people stop and look at car crashes? Anyways, here are the most interesting teams for the upcoming season.

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5: Boston Celtics

Early on in the off-season, the Celtics were a dark horse pick to land Kevin Durant. When Tom Brady shows up to your free agent meeting, good things usually happen. Though it was reported that Brady’s presence at the meeting had a big impact on Durant, it wasn’t enough to get him in a green uniform. However, the Celtics scored big with the acquisition of Al Horford, a former star on the Atlanta Hawks. While Horford isn’t the superstar that Durant is, he fits in well with the Celtics and coach Brad Steven’s vision. The Celtics are projected to be one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference this season, and monitoring Horford as he settles in to the new role will be fun to watch, espescially for the Boston faithful.

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4: Philadelphia 76ers

While it is still entirely plausible that they lose over 60 games, this isn’t the same 76ers of last year. With Ben Simmons coming in as a rookie with much expected of him, the entire dynamic of the Sixers has changed. Their roster reads like a team that will be great in a few years; Jahlil Okafor, Nerlins Noel, Dario Saric, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are all very young and have a lot of potential. That last name, Embiid, will be particularly interesting to watch; he hasn’t played in an NBA game since being drafted 3rd overall in 2014. If Embiid can stay healthy and stay away from fast food this season, he could be a major player on a team that is looking to build an identity (and has been since Allen Iverson left).

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3: Chicago Bulls

The big headline here is Dwyane Wade. Nobody expected the king of Miami to leave, including Pat Riley. Additionally, the Bulls brought in Rajon Rondo, who has fallen off to say the least since his glory days with the aforementioned Celtics. With Wade, Rondo and Butler, the Bulls have a cheap version of a Big-3 with some glaring chemistry issues. It is no superteam, heck, maybe not even a good team, but it will be a hell of a lot of fun watching the power struggle between Butler, an incumbent Bull who looks to be the new leader, and Wade, a native of Chicago and 3 time NBA champion. Rondo is always a wild-card, but there might be a sliver of hope that the three of them can hit it off and the Bulls can be a contender in the Eastern Conference.

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2: New York Knicks

The Knicks made waves this offseason by acquiring Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee. The running joke here is that this team would’ve been great in 2010, but there could be some upside to the New York Knicks this season. Rose is certainly giving us no shortage of entertainment, claiming that this year’s Knicks are a “super-team”. As if there wasn’t enough pressure on the former MVP to finally start producing on the court again. That being said, if Rose is somehow able to recapture the magic of his MVP season, that would make for a lethal combo with Carmelo Anthony, who is aging but still shows he can produce at a high level.

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1: Golden State Warriors

It’s kind of an anticlimactic number one pick, but the Warriors will just be too damn interesting to ignore. With the addition of Kevin Durant (which is still hard to fully wrap your head around), the Warriors have somehow managed to make themselves even better than they were before. That being said, the Warriors have made a big change that may take some time to come to full fruition. Adding a super star to play with other great players like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green may take time to maximize their efficiency. Should the warriors stutter out of the gate, it makes it all the more interesting. Don’t get caught up on wondering if they can win 74 games. They won’t. That will become very apparent early on. My predicton is that the Warriors begin the season around the 20-8 mark. After that, they will hit a stride, but these things take time. Patience, young grasshopper.