HOF English on Embiid: ‘I don’t know if he’s got the heart of a champion yet'(AUDIO)

The Philadelphia 76ers were very close to beating the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals. In Game 3, Joel Embiid was unstoppable. He dropped 33 points, collected 10 rebounds, and block five shots, and after three games, Philly was up 2-1 with an opportunity to go up 3-1 in Game 4 at home. However, Embiid would get sick; he was ineffective in Games 4 and 5. The Raptors would win both of those games and would win the series in seven after Kawhi Leonard’s buzzing beating, series-clinching jump shot.

Many point to Embiid’s health as one of the reasons the 76ers lost the series, and some pointed to his body language during Games 4 and 5. Embiid not only played sick, but he looked sick. It was written all over his face, and it looked as if the team was deflated because of it.

TNT’s Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal were critical of Embiid’s body language, and Hall of Famer Alex English noticed Embiid’s body language as well.

“I saw the very same thing, and that’s maybe why I’m saying and being as harsh as I am in saying I thought he looked really bad,” English recently said about Embiid on the Go4it podcast.  “I think that’s what it is; his body language, his hustle back on defense after he shot a shot, the effort that he put in a game. Those are the things that make me feel like I feel when I think of Joel Embiid.

“Before the playoffs, I said, ‘Hey man, this guy is the best thing since sliced bread,’ and after that, I’m like, ‘Well, maybe not.’ Because I don’t know if he’s got the heart of a champion yet, he’s still a young guy. It may take a while, but you’re in the NBA playoffs, you gotta give up more than what he gave.”

While he was critical of Embiid, English, like ESPN’s Mark Jackson, believes the 25-year-old center can be great, but he has some work to do.

“I think he will be one of the all-time great centers. I don’t think he will be the all-time great center,” English said. “It’s gonna be hard for anybody to top Bill Russell in my book, but I think he’s got potential. It’s parts of his game that he has to work on.

“There were times when he looked great out on the floor, and then, there were times he looked like a dog, and I don’t like that… He looked like he looked because of the way his health was at that moment. He was not feeling well; I only say that if you got the heart of a champion, you find a way to overcome. I remember Michael Jordan going into a series and just having one the greatest games of his life. Winning the championship being sick.(“Flu Game” in Game 5 of 1997 NBA Finals. Bulls would beat Jazz in 6) I know how it is when I played and I’ve been sick; I always picked it up and said, ‘Hey, I gotta focus even harder because of this.”

Embiid is special, and I think he learned a lot in these playoffs. The Sixers needed him to be at his best. In the Toronto series, the team was plus-90 with him on the floor, but they were minus-111 when he was off the floor, which shows that Embiid is a difference maker.

However, he has to get in better shape and do a better job of taking care of his body. If he can stay healthy, his name will be up there with great centers in the history of the game, but if he does not do what he can to stay healthy, we might be talking about what could have been.

Listen to the complete interview with English below. He talks Embiid at 08:46:

 

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HOF Alex English likes Jokic over Embiid(Audio)

Denver Nuggets C Nikola Jokic did it all for the Denver Nuggets this season. The First-Team All-NBA star led the Nuggets in points, rebounds, and assists per game(20.1 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 7.3 apg). Jokic’s ability to do it all was one of the reasons Denver had the second best record in the Western Conference. Ultimately, the Nuggets would lose to the Blazers in the second round of the playoffs.

Is Jokic the best center in the game?

Well, there is a center in Philadelphia named Joel Embiid who might argue. The Second-Team All-NBA star was fourth in the NBA in scoring(27.5 ppg) and was second in the NBA in rebounding(13.6 rpg), and like Jokic, Embiid and the 76ers would lose in the second round of the playoffs.

If it were up to Hall of Famer and former Denver Nugget star Alex English, he would go with Jokic.

“Hands down I would take Jokic,” English recently told the Go4it podcast with host Paul Gant when asked to choose between Jokic and Embiid. “There’s even no question. I look at the effort he puts into the game, how he gets back on defense, his effort on the floor. What he does on the floor, I would take him without a second thought… He’s inside; he’s outside, he passes, he rebounds. He’s just a solid player for me.”

Both of these guys are big-time players. For me, it’s Embiid because of the things he does on the defensive end. Embiid(1.9 blocks per game) was a Second-Team All-Defensive center, and I believe he is a better scorer than Jokic, and statistically, Embiid is the better rebounder. However, Jokic is the better passer and is the best passing center in the game.

You can’t go wrong with either center, but in terms of pure talent, I have to go with Embiid, and if he can stay healthy, Embiid is the choice. However, if you have any doubts about Embiid’s healthy, you go with Jokic.

Listen below as English talks Embiid and Jokic at 7:55 mark:

Great courtside angle of Leonard’s amazing shot(VIDEO)

Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer-beating, series-clinching shot against the 76ers to send the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals was ridiculous, and it is was one of the greatest shots in NBA history.

Never has a seven-game series ended in this manner, which makes this shot even more special.

We have seen so many different angles of this shot, but I think we may have just found one of the best.

Watch Below:

Twitter reacts to Kawhi Leonard’s series-winning shot

What a Game 7 in Toronto, and what a fantastic shot by Kawhi Leonard. With the score tied at 90, Leonard shot a jump shot in the corner that bounced around the rim and went in at the buzzer, and the Raptors win 92-90 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to play the Milwaukee Bucks, which starts on Wednesday.

After the game, Twitter reacted.

Here is a sampling:

Stephen A. Smith: 76ers might get swept

The Toronto Raptors got out early on the 76ers in Game 1 and did not look back. In front of their home crowd, and led by Kawhi Leonard’s 45 points, the Raptors routed the 76ers 108-95 on Saturday to take a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Game 2 is Monday night in Toronto.

After what many saw on Saturday night, some think the Raptors could run away with this series, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

“I have the Toronto Raptors winning this series,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take today. “Here’s the difference between my opinion before the series, and my opinion after Game 1. I don’t give the Sixers much of a chance; I’m scared they might get swept.”

It’s only one game, but Toronto looks like the better team. I had the Raptors winning the series in 7, and I think that will still happen.

Listen below to what Smith had to say:

Statement from 76ers on Bobby Jones’ selection to Hall of Fame

Here is a statement from the Philadelphia 76ers on Bobby Jones’ being selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:

The Philadelphia 76ers organization today congratulates Bobby Jones on his appointment to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. At a press conference held in Minneapolis today, the site of the NCAA Men’s Final Four, the Hall of Fame announced that Jones, Bill Fitch, Sidney Moncrief, Jack Sikma, Paul Westphal, the Tennessee A&I teams of 1957-59, Teresa Weatherspoon, Al Attles, Charles “Chuck” Cooper, Vlade Divac, Carl Braun and the Wayland Baptist University teams of 1948-82 will make up the Class of 2019.

“Bobby Jones is among the all-time greats in the history of 76ers basketball and we are thrilled that he has been selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Bobby’s impact on the game of basketball, the city of Philadelphia and his hometown of Charlotte cannot be overstated. A true gentleman and legendary basketball player, he is the embodiment of a Hall of Famer,” Managing Partner, Philadelphia 76ers and Founder of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment Josh Harris said.

Jones was named to eight straight NBA All-Defensive First Teams from 1976-84, four NBA All-Star Games and won the first-ever NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1983. He led the NBA in field-goal percentage with a .578 mark in 1977-78 with Denver. During his eight seasons with the 76ers, he averaged 10.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game and was an All-Star in both 1981 and 1982. His 694 blocks and .542 field-goal percentage both rank fifth-best in 76ers franchise history, while his 727 steals are seventh. Jones had his No. 24 retired by the 76ers on Nov. 7, 1986, the season after his retirement from the NBA.

“Congratulations to Bobby Jones on his well-deserved appointment to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Bobby is one of the greatest players ever to compete for the Philadelphia 76ers; a four-time NBA All-Star, eight-time All-Defensive First Team selection, Sixth Man of the Year and, of course, an NBA champion. Bobby’s tenacious defense and passion for the game have long endeared him to the city of Philadelphia, and it’s only right that he be forever remembered as a Hall of Famer,” Co-Managing Partner, Philadelphia 76ers and Co-Founder of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment David Blitzer said.

Across 774 NBA games with Denver and Philadelphia, Jones held career averages of 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. Jones also played two seasons in the ABA for Denver, earning an All-Star nod in 1976. All told, Jones shot .550 from the field across his 10 NBA seasons and is one of eight non-active players in league history to hold such a shooting percentage in 750-plus games. Among the others to do so are Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Artis Gilmore, Kevin McHale and Shaquille O’Neal.

A defensive stalwart, Jones was a key cog in the 76ers’ 1983 title run, posting 8.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks per contest. He joined fellow Hall of Famers Julius Erving and Moses Malone as the only Philadelphia players with at least 15 steals and 15 blocks in the postseason. Jones played three collegiate seasons as a member of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels before beginning his professional career.

The Class of 2019 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball, Sept. 5-7, 2019.

76ers waive Justin Patton; Philly expected to sign Greg Monroe

Philadelphia 76ers waived C Justin Patton, the team announced today, and according to reports, the team is expected to sign C Greg Monroe, who just completed a 10-day contract with the Boston Celtics.
Patton was acquired on Nov. 12, 2018 in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves and appeared in three NBA games for the 76ers this season.
Additionally, Patton spent time with the 76ers’ G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, where he appeared in 11 games (two starts) and posted 8.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 18.6 minutes per game.
Patton has appeared in four NBA games and 49 G League games over two seasons with Minnesota and Philadelphia. Originally selected by Chicago with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Patton played one collegiate season at Creighton before entering the draft.

76ers’ Milton on relationship with HOF coach Larry Brown: ‘That’s my guy'(VIDEO)

76ers two-way player Shake Milton is tearing up the G League.  In his last 10 games, Milton scored 23 points or more nine times with the Delaware Blue Coats after returning from a hand injury on March 8, and with G League season now over, the second-round pick out of SMU will end the regular season with the 76ers.

One of the biggest reasons for Milton’s success at SMU and in the G League is Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, who coached Milton at SMU, and was the coach of the 76ers(1997-2003), which included a trip to the NBA Finals in 2001.

Milton and Brown continue to have a solid relationship, and according to Milton, the two talk regularly.

“That’s my guy. I still call him,” Milton recently told Paul Gant. “We talk to each other probably a couple of times every week. He’s always giving me words of encouragement, anything he sees. I know if I ever have trouble, or if I’m ever bothered about anything on the court or off the court, I can always come to him, and he will be a resource for me, so that’s my guy.”

Having a resource like Brown should be valuable for Milton as he continues to navigate the NBA, and at this point, you could argue that the 76ers might be able to use what Milton brings to the table. The 6’6 guard averaged 24.9 ppg(second in G League in scoring), 4.9 apg, and 4.9 rbg in 27 games with the Delaware Blue Coats, and he has shown the ability to score in many different ways, which has been on full display in Delaware.

However, since Milton is a two-way player, he is not eligible for the playoffs, so unless the 76ers sign him to an NBA contract this season, Milton will not be available for the playoffs. However, this is not a concern for Milton.

“That’s something I really don’t even try to concern myself with,” Milton said about the possibility of suiting up for the playoffs. “I just try to do the best with whatever opportunity I’m given, so for me, that just means to keep working, keep putting work in every single day. It will eventually pay off and show itself.”

Don’t expect the 22-year-old Milton to have a huge impact with 76ers this season, but next year, if he continues to “play the right way,” Milton should have an opportunity to have a more significant role with the 76ers.

Listen below to the complete interview with Milton as he talks his development, and he tells us the biggest difference between playing in the NBA and playing in the G League.:

 

76ers’ Smith scores 19 points for Blue Coats on Friday night

The Delaware Blue Coats (20-29), the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, fell to the Long Island Nets (33-16), 142-133, on Friday night at 76ers Fieldhouse. Seven Blue Coats scored in double figures as the team connected on 20 or more three-point field goals for the fifth time this season.

Rashad Vaughn posted a game-high 27 points (10-16 fg, 6-7 3fg, 1-1 ft) with four rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes off the bench for the Blue Coats. 76ers two-way contract player Shake Milton recorded 26 points (10-19 fg, 3-9 3fg, 3-4 ft), one rebound and four assists in 32 minutes, while Jared Brownridge added 20 points (7-13 fg, 4-9 3fg, 2-2 ft) in 26 minutes as a reserve.

76ers assignment player Zhaire Smith scored a season-high 19 points (7-16 fg, 3-8 3fg, 2-2 ft) to go along with three rebounds and two blocked shots in 28 minutes for the Blue Coats. Jonah Bolden, also on assignment from the 76ers, neared a double-double with nine points (3-11 fg, 1-3 3fg, 2-3 ft) and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes in his seventh NBA G League game of the season.

The Blue Coats, which trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half, took a 70-68 lead into the halftime break. Vaughn scored 20 of his 27 points, including a last-second layup to give the home team its first lead, in the second quarter.

Brooklyn Nets assignment player Dzanan Musa paced Long Island with 26 points (11-21 fg, 3-7 3fg, 1-3 ft), six rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes. Brooklyn two-way contract player Alan Williams notched his 30th double-double of the season with 25 points (10-16 fg, 1-3 3fg, 4-5 ft) and 15 rebounds in 32 minutes, while fellow two-way contract player Theo Pinson neared a triple-double with 20 points (6-14 fg, 2-6 3fg, 6-9 ft), nine rebounds and eight assists in 35 minutes. Mitch Creek totaled 22 points (8-15 fg, 2-4 3fg, 4-8 ft), five rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes.

 

 

76ers’ Ben Simmons named Eastern Conference Player of the Week

The NBA announced today that Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played between Monday, Feb. 25 and Sunday, March 3. This is the second time in Simmons’ two-year career he has received the honor and first since April 2-8, 2018.  With Joel Embiid named Player of the Week for Dec. 31-Jan.6, Philadelphia becomes the fourth team in the NBA this season to have multiple players receive the honor.

Simmons joins Embiid and Andre Miller as well as Hall of Famers Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley, Julius Erving and Moses Malone as the only Philadelphia players to receive the honor multiple times since its inception in 1979-80.

Simmons led the 76ers to a 2-1 week, including road wins over Western Conference opponents, New Orleans and the Oklahoma City. The week saw Simmons average 16.7 points, 13.3 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game, while shooting .550 from the field. He is one of two players in the NBA this season to hold these averages over single a week.

The Australia native opened up the week with a 14-point, 12-rebound performance, good for one of his three double-doubles of the week and one of his 36 on the season. At halftime, Simmons had 12 points and 11 rebounds. This was the third time this season he had posted a double-double in a game’s opening half.

On Thursday, Simmons led Philadelphia to its first-ever win in Oklahoma City as he recorded his ninth triple-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, two blocks and two steals. He is the only player in the league this season record a triple-double against the Thunder and he is the first player from the East to do so in Oklahoma City since Dwight Howard on Nov. 12, 2008.

Simmons closed out the week with his second straight triple-double and 10th of the season with 25 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists and three steals against Golden State. He is the only player in the NBA this season to put up such a stat line in a single game and is the first Eastern Conference player to post a triple-double versus the Warriors this season.

Across the three games, Simmons accounted for nearly .300 percent of Philadelphia’s rebounds and assists.

Overall, the Louisiana State product holds season averages of 17.0 points, 9.1 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He joins Denver’s Nikola Jokić and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook as the only players in the league averaging at least 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists per game.