Philadelphia 76ers begin regular season against Pelicans

The Philadelphia 76ers will begin the 2021-22 regular-season on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans, the NBA announced on Friday.

The 76ers will be featured on national television 16 times(ESPN, TNT, ESPN) and will be featured 11 times on NBA TV.  

Philadelphia is expected to be one of the top teams in the league in 2021-22 after having the best record in the Eastern Conference last season. They will be tested right away as they host the Brooklyn Nets for the first of their four matchups in the home opener. They will host the world champion Bucks for the first or three matchups on November 9.

Other notable parts of the schedule include:  

  • A season-long six-game road stretch kicks off with a meeting with the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, November 13 (7 p.m. E.T.). The trip also features games against Utah (Tuesday, Nov. 16, 10 p.m. E.T., TNT), Denver (Thursday, Nov. 18, 9 p.m. E.T., NBA TV), Portland (Saturday, Nov. 20, 10 p.m. E.T.), Sacramento (Monday, Nov. 22, 10 p.m. E.T., NBA TV) and Golden State (Wednesday, Nov. 24, 10 p.m. E.T., ESPN).  

  • The first of four games against the rival Boston Celtics comes on Wednesday, December 1, at T.D. Garden (7:30 p.m. E.T., NBA TV). The teams will meet once more that month, also at T.D. Garden, on Monday, December 20 at 7:30 p.m. E.T. on NBA TV, before playing a pair of games at The Center (Friday, January 14 on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. E.T. on ESPN and Tuesday, February 15 at 7:30 p.m. E.T. on TNT).  

  • A two-game road series against the Charlotte Hornets comes on Monday, December 6, and Wednesday, December 8, with both games set for 7 p.m. E.T.  

  • Philadelphia will host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, December 11, on ABC (8:30 p.m. E.T.).  

  • The Miami Heat makes its first trip to The Center on Wednesday, December 15, for a 7 p.m. E.T. tip. The two squads will face off a total of four times in 2021-22 (Saturday, January 15 at Miami at 8 p.m. E.T., Saturday, March 5 at Miami at 8 p.m. E.T. and Monday, March 21 at The Center at 7 p.m. E.T.).  

  • On Thursday, January 27 (7:30 p.m. E.T., TNT), The Center will host the L.A. Lakers.  

  • Last season’s Western Conference champion, the Phoenix Suns, make their lone visit to The Center on Tuesday, February 8 (7 p.m. E.T.).  

  • The Dallas Mavericks will travel to Philadelphia for a Friday, March 18 (7 p.m. E.T.) matchup.  

Philadelphia’s final regular-season game is scheduled for April 10 at The Center against the Detroit Pistons.  

GAME BREAKDOWN BY MONTH:  

OCTOBER: 6 games (3 home, 3 road) 

NOVEMBER: 15 games (7 home, 8 road) 

DECEMBER: 15 games (5 home, 10 road) 

JANUARY: 14 games (9 home, 5 road) 

FEBRUARY: 10 games (5 home, 5 road) 

MARCH: 16 games (9 home, 7 road)

APRIL: 6 games (3 home, 3 road)  

Preseason schedule

10/4 @ Toronto

10/7 Toronto

10/11 Brooklyn

10/15 @ Detroit

 

Joel Embiid signs contract extension with 76ers

76ers star center Joel Embiid was the face of the team this season, and after signing an extension with Philadelphia. Embiid will be the face of the franchise for years to come. 

The 76ers announced today that Embiid and the team had agreed to a multiyear contract extension. According to ESPN, the contract, which Embiid negotiated without an agent and will begin in the 2023-24 season, is a four-year(last season player option) supermax contract worth $196 million. 

“Joel is the definition of elite – a role model in our community and a true MVP-caliber superstar on the court,” said Philadelphia 76ers Managing Partner Josh Harris said in press release from the team. “Since he was drafted in 2014, his rare blend of skills, charisma, and leadership has transformed this franchise. We couldn’t be more grateful and excited to continue watching him in a 76ers uniform.” 

In his fifth season, Embiid, 27, averaged a career-best 28.5 points per game to go along with 10.6 rebounds per contest, which resulted in his fourth-consecutive All-Star Game selection as a starter.

Last season, Embiid was an All-NBA Second Team selection and finished second in the MVP voting, making him eligible for a supermax extension. In addition, Embiid was All-Defensive Second Team.

Going forward, the key for the number three overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft is health. Over the last four years, Embiid has averaged 57 games a season and has not played more than 64 games in a season.

In the playoffs this season, he battled a torn meniscus, and his last extension with Philadelphia, which he signed in 2017(five-years, $148 million), Embiid had provisions in the contract that protected 76ers from catastrophic injury to his feet or back. This contract does not have those provisions, according to ESPN.

If Embiid can stay healthy, he has a chance to be an all-time great. This season, he was a different player. He seemed to be in better shape and committed to being the best player he can be. Hopefully, after getting another extension, he will keep that same commitment. 

76ers’ Morey: ‘Georges(Niang) is a talented player who can stretch the floor’

The 76ers have officially signed F Georges Niang, the team announced on Friday.

According to Marc Stein, it’s a two-year deal worth $6.7 million.

Niang, 28, spent the last four seasons with Utah after spending his rookie year with Indiana. 

Last season, Niang posted career highs of 6.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 0.8 assists. He also was the only player last season to appear in at least 70 games while shooting at least 40-percent from both the field and three-point range while knocking down at least 95-percent of his attempts from the foul line. 

He is a .404 three-point shooter for his career, a mark that ranks 13th among active NBA players with 600-or-more attempts. This past season, Niang shot nearly 43-percent from three on a career-high 4.1 shots per game.

According to 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey, the 6-7 Niang should stretch the floor for Philadelphia next season.

“Georges is a talented player who can stretch the floor, and he immediately bolsters our frontcourt depth,” Morey said via a press release from the team. “He has shot over 40-percent from three for his career and has steadily improved his overall game each season he’s been in the NBA. We’re excited to welcome him to Philadelphia.”

Next season, Niang should fill the void left by Mike Scott off the 76ers’ bench and will be another dependable shooter for Philadelphia.

76ers’ Morey on Drummond: ‘We’re excited to add a veteran player of his caliber to our roster’

With Dwight Howard returning to the Lakers, the 76ers had a void at the backup center spot. On Wednesday, they officially filled that spot. Philadelphia announced that they had signed two-time All-Star Andre Drummond.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a one-year deal for the veteran minimum. 

Last season, Drummond played for the Cavaliers and the Lakers. He appeared in 46 games (all starts) last season, posting averages of 14.9 points and 12.0 rebounds along with 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks. He was one of three NBA players, including new teammate Joel Embiid, to average a point-rebound double-double as well as one steal and one block last season. 

“Andre is a great addition to the 76ers family,” President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey said via a press release from the team. “He is a two-time NBA All-Star who has consistently been one of the NBA’s very best rebounders and rim protectors,” Morey said. “We’re excited to add a veteran player of his caliber to our roster and look forward to the impact he’ll make this season.” 

In nine seasons, Drummond holds career averages of 14.5 points, 13.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. His career 13.7 rebounding average ranks seventh all-time in NBA history among players who have appeared in at least 250 contests.

In essence, the 76ers swapped Drummond for Howard. The 27-year-old Drummond is probably an upgrade over the 35-year-old Howard. He’s younger, a better rebounder, scorer, and a guy looking to get another big contract, which could bode well for Philadelphia.

Drummond will wear No. 1 for the 76ers. 

76ers acquire second-round pick from Pelicans

Philadelphia 76ers have acquired the number 53 overall selection in the 2021 NBA Draft from New Orleans in exchange for cash considerations, the teams announced today.

The 76ers will enter the draft with picks 28, 50, and 53.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, the pick gives the Sixers flexibility and options. They can use the pick to move up in tonight’s draft. They can use it to help acquire a veteran or to acquire future picks.

The pick originally belonged to Dallas and was acquired by the Pelicans on March 25, 2021. 

The NBA Draft will take place tonight from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

 

HBSE hires Tad Brown as CEO, will oversee 76ers, Devils

Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) announced that Thaddeus “Tad” Brown has been named CEO on Monday.

Brown will oversee all business and growth functions for the HBSE brand and its properties, including the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, and Prudential Center. Brown begins with the organization on Aug. 3, according to the statement from the organization.

Brown, who takes over for Scott O’Neil after he resigned back in June, joins HBSE after nearly two decades with the Houston Rockets, Toyota Center, and Clutch City Sports and Entertainment, 15 of which were spent as CEO. In his role in Houston, he was a member of the NBA’s Board of Governors, served as the representative to the Executive Committee, and served on the league’s Media Committee.

He reunites him with longtime friend and colleague, Daryl Morey, the 76ers President of Basketball Operations. During their time together in Houston from 2007-2020, the Rockets compiled a 640-400 (.615) record, the second-best of any NBA team, while becoming one of the NBA’s most successful franchises. 

Prior to joining the Rockets, Brown was a Founder and President of Streetball Partners International. For more than a decade, he worked in partnership with NBC Sports and the NBA to build Streetball into the world’s largest global grassroots basketball property. 

Ex-NBA C.J. Watson on Simmons against Hawks: ‘Honestly, it’s hard to watch’

The Philadelphia 76ers had a great opportunity to make a long playoff run this season. Philadelphia had the best record in the Eastern Conference and was clear favorites against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After three games, the 76ers led the series against Atlanta 2-1 and had an 18-point lead in Game 4 and a 26-point lead in Game 5, but they would lose both games and ultimately lose the series in 7. 

In the series against Atlanta, Ben Simmons, who was first-team all-defense this season, struggled on the offensive end. The three-time All-Star averaged 9.8 points per game in the series and shot 15/45 from the free-throw line. Late in Game 7, he had an opportunity for a dunk, but it passed it off. Simmons took only four shots in Game 7 and finished the game 2/4 from the field with only five points. 

According to former NBA player C.J. Watson, a recent guest of the Go4it podcast hosted by Paul Gant, it was tough to watch Simmons struggle against the Hawks.

“I think it’s just a lack of confidence,” Watson said. “Honestly, it’s hard to watch, but the NBA Is going into bigger guards, which is fine, but you gotta be able to score. If I were a coach or GM, I would want to pick players, who are all threats on the court, so I want five people who can shoot the ball, who can dribble, and who can be all interchangeable. Things of that nature.”

When asked if the 76ers can have success with Simmons if he does not shoot, Watson said the following.

“Without shooting, I don’t think so,” Watson said. “I think he has to develop a jump shot, at least. “It doesn’t have to be a three-point jump shot. It has to be at least a free-throw line jump shot, be able to hit a pull-up jumper, something of that nature, but he has to be able to score the ball. Like we said, he’s already an effective player. If he could add that one piece to his game, he could be even better. and help his team more.”

Philadelphia has an interesting decision to make with Simmons. Do they keep him and hope he grows his game on the offensive end, or do they trade him? 

If it were up to Watson, Simmons would be traded.

“I think I have to break them up,” Watson said about the Embiid-Simmons pairing. “I think they need more shooting around a guy like Joel Emibiid. He definitely has to have shooting. They have to take the model like the Phoenix Suns have. If you have a big like that, who can score the ball, you have to put a lot of shooting around him, a lot of guys who don’t need the ball, a lot of defensive guys. I think that’s what they’re missing.”

You can win with the 24-year-old Simmons if you don’t have to rely on his scoring, so if Philly can find another scorer, they can win. However, if they bring the same team back next season, they will continue to run into the same problems unless Simmons grows his game on the offensive end.

Watson talks Simmons at the 10:20 and the 31:46 mark of the video:

76ers, Devils CEO Scott O’Neil steps down

Scott O’Neil, the CEO of the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, has elected to step away from the organization to pursue new opportunities, the organization announced on Wednesday.

O’Neil spent eight years with Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.

 “I would like to thank Josh Harris and David Blitzer for inspiring, engaging, and empowering me to bring together the most talented executive team in sports and entertainment,” O’Neil said in a statement. “Josh and David are extraordinary leaders, partners, and friends. Their commitment to our teams, brands, employees – and most importantly – their commitment to serving the City of Philadelphia, Newark, and Camden – made our success together possible. To be trusted with the opportunity to steward epic brands – as well as buy, build, integrate, acquire, and grow complimentary businesses to create HBSE as it is today – has been the ride of a lifetime, one for which I am humbled and grateful.”  

Under O’Neil’s leadership, HBSE was built from a single-entity team, the Sixers, to an all-encompassing sports and entertainment franchise that spans two professional teams, an e-sports business, a leading arena, and entertainment business, and several growth and venture investments across sports technology.

He led the Sixers to sign the first jersey patch sponsorship in “Big Four” sports history, oversaw construction on the largest and most technically advanced training complex in professional sports, the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex, established an industry-leading Innovation Lab, and became the first U.S. professional sports franchise to acquire a world-renowned esports team.

76ers television play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff retires from broadcasting

Philadelphia 76ers longtime broadcaster Marc Zumoff announced his retirement from broadcasting on Tuesday after an incredible 27-year run as the team’s television play-by-play announcer.

Throughout his career, Zumoff, 65,  called more than 2,100 76ers games across the regular season and playoffs. 

During his nearly 30 years in the chair, Zumoff served as the voice behind the careers of several 76er stars, from current General Manager Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, and Hall of Famer Allen Iverson to Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons. He shared the booth with former 76ers Steve Mix, Ed Pinckney, Eric Snow, Alaa Abdelnaby, and former NBA player Malik Rose and coach Bob Salmi.  

A Philadelphia native and Temple University alumnus, Zumoff joined PRISM in 1982 and served as the in-studio host for pregame, halftime, and postgame shows. He was named the play-by-play announcer on August 17, 1994, and went on to win the Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for best sports play-by-play broadcaster 19 times.

A 2011 inductee to the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Zumoff also served as the voice for NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He followed the U.S. Women’s basketball team to its sixth consecutive gold medal. He also did play-by-play for NBA TV and Turner Sports’ coverage of the NBA, including both regular-season and playoff games, the network’s coverage of the Goodwill Games, as well as play-by-play for NBC Sports Philadelphia’s coverage of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union and college football. 

The 76ers organization plans to honor and celebrate Zumoff at a home game during the 2021-22 season. 

The 76ers will get to the Eastern Conference finals, guaranteed!

The Philadelphia 76ers were in complete control in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference second-round series against the Hawks on Wednesday night. Philly was up by as many as 26 points in the third quarter and entered the fourth quarter leading by 18 points.

However, things went south for Philadelphia in the fourth. The Hawks outscored the 76ers 40-19 in the final quarter, and ultimately, the comeback was complete as Atlanta defeated the 76ers 109-106 at Wells Fargo Center to take a 3-2 series lead.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the 26-point blown lead was the third-largest blown lead in a playoff game over the last 25 postseasons.

Game 6 is on Friday night in Atlanta, and if the Hawks could pull it off, they will return to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2015.

Trae Young had another huge game on the road. In six road playoff games, Young is averaging 32.2 points, 9.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds. Young had 39 points and seven assists on Wednesday night, including 13 points in the fourth, and Lou Williams scored 13 of his 15 points in the final quarter.

What an amazing turnaround for the Hawks, and what a big-time letdown for the 76ers. In the past two games, Philadelphia, who had an 18-point lead against the Hawks in Game 4, has not gotten much from their top three players in the fourth quarter. Joel Embiid(1-10), Tobias Harris(0-5), and Ben Simmons(0-0) shot a combined 1/15 from the field in the fourth quarters of the last two games.

With their backs against the wall, Philadelphia will now have to win in a hostile environment to keep its season alive. State Farm Arena will be rocking on Friday night, but according to their head coach Doc Rivers, the 76ers will win Game 6 and bring the series back to Philly for Game 7 on Sunday night.

“We’ll get back up,” Rivers said postgame. “We’ll be back here for Game 7. I believe that.”

Philadelphia is still the better team in this series. Usually, the better team wins in a best-of-seven-series in the NBA, so expect the 76ers to bring this series back to Philadelphia and win it in 7. If they don’t, it will be a long offseason in Philadelphia

Notes:

Simmons has struggled from the free-throw line in the playoffs and this series. The Hawks used the “Hack-a-Ben” strategy in Game 5, and it worked. Simmons shot 4-14 from the line on Wednesday night and became the first guard in NBA history to miss ten free throws in a playoff game, and the ten missed free throws are the most by any player in a game this season.

In the playoffs this season, Simmons is shooting 33% from the foul line.

-Seth Curry had a career-playoff-high 36 points on Wednesday night. Curry shot 13/19 from the field, including 7/12 from three-point range.