Breaking news: playing for the Nets is not fun

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The Nets have a legitimate shot at taking the “Worst Team in NBA History” crown, despite a fair amount of intriguing young talent. They stand at an abysmal 4-46, which no matter how you dress it up, still looks and feels like 4-46. Losing that much would destroy just about any team’s culture, and if basketball is all fun and games, fun just left town.

Cue Chris Douglas-Roberts, per Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

I’m just more cold. But all that stuff, I don’t care one way or the
other,” said Douglas-Roberts. “Caring about winning? Absolutely. But
everything else doesn’t matter. All of this is because I want to win. I
take losing bad. All of this, everything comes from me being a sore
loser. I don’t like losing.”

The Nets aren’t just losing. At
4-46, they are losing like only two other NBA teams ever have done.
Only the 1972-73 Sixers, who were a worst-ever 9-73, and the 1992-93
Mavs, who had 11 wins, were 4-46 after 50 games. What has it been like?

“Hell, really,” said Douglas-Roberts, whose production (7.5
points from 16.4), shots (6.6 from 14.3) and minutes (24.8 from 36.5)
all have plunged since Yi Jianlian returned in late December. “With so
many ups and downs, even when I was playing well early in the year, I
didn’t get any satisfaction from playing well if we’re losing. It’s
been real bad. I’m not really playing, so it’s worse.”

Needless to say, CDR’s NBA dream has had a bit of a rough start. After sliding into the second round of the draft somewhat inexplicably, Douglas-Roberts struggled to find his role during his first season. And now, not only have CDR’s minutes been curbed to accommodate teammates returning from injury, but the Nets are still a completely miserable team whose only hope for the season is the visage of John Wall.

In his three years at Memphis, CDR won 101 games and lost only nine. It would only take these Nets 15 and a half seasons to match that win total. There are so many adjustments to make in going from NCAA star to NBA rookie, but the losing has to be among the most depressing. It’s not merely a rigorous schedule with high expectations and separation from family and friends, but one that humbles even prolific young athletes on a nightly basis. For a league that makes dreams come true, the NBA is one cruel mistress.

After two years off court, Joel Embiid says he “probably” will have minutes restrictions

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers takes a shot from the bench prior to the game against the Utah Jazz on October 30, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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Joel Embiid could be the best player on the Philadelphia 76ers in a couple of years — many scouts had him the highest rated of all the first-round draft picks the Sixers have had in recent seasons.

But after two foot surgeries and two seasons sitting on the sidelines, we don’t know how good Embiid can be. We should find out starting in October when Embiid is part of the Sixers training camp. Embiid says he feels 100 percent, but he expects there will be restrictions on him at first, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com during the Sixers Beach Bash community event this weekend.

This is the smart move by the Sixers — they are not competing for a title, the games in November have minimal meaning long term, bring him along slowly and make sure he can make each step along the way. Let’s see what he can do, then worry about how much run he can get in games that matter.

It’s going to be interesting to watch how Embiid, Ben Simmons, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor all fit together up front — and which one of them gets traded this season.

Celtics’ Avery Bradley on defense: “Kyrie Irving, none of those guys scare me”

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 09:  Avery Bradley #0 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after scoring against the Memphis Grizzlies  during the first quarter at TD Garden on March 9, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Avery Bradley was first-team NBA All-Defensive team last season, and his coach Brad Stevens lobbied for him to get the honor. Bradley picks up guys full court, pesters, and plays physical — we can debate if he is as good defensively as his reputation, but guys like Damian Lillard think he’s tough to go up against.

Bradley, for his part, says he has no fear going up against the best. Here is what he said to Tom Westerholm of Masslive.com.

“I love the challenge,” Bradley said on Friday, making an appearance at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “I love going up against the best players. I don’t care who it is. I don’t care about getting embarrassed. I don’t care. Kyrie Irving, none of those guys scare me. I know some players in the NBA probably get butterflies before the game, but not me. I’m licking my lips. I come excited. They need to prepare for me at the end of the day. That’s how I think.”

That’s exactly the attitude you want an elite defender to have.

Bradley injured his hamstring in the first game of the playoffs last April and sat the rest of the Celtics’ one series. Then this summer his name came up in potential Jimmy Butler trade rumors (that deal never actually came close to getting off the ground). Expect Bradley to put that all behind him by the time training camp opens.

Watch highlights of LeBron James’ playoffs, Finals run

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LeBron James was dominant — the clear best player on the planet — when the Cleveland Cavaliers needed him most. That’s the reason Cleveland got its first major sports title in 52 years.

It’s the dead part of the NBA season — training camps don’t even open for a month — so why not enjoy a look back at LeBron’s amazing run to a legacy-defining NBA ring. Like you don’t have 15 minutes for this. What are you going to do, watch more preseason football?

It’s Joel Embiid’s turn to swat a little kid’s shot (VIDEO)

TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 03: Joel Embiid #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2014 NBA rookie photo shoot at MSG Training Center on August 3, 2014 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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It’s a summer tradition — tall NBA players swatting away the shots of young kids at camps/clinics.

Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid has yet to step on an NBA court — this fall, finally? — but he is part of the youth tradition now, destroying this young man at the Sixers Beach Bash event Saturday.

This summer Embiid has arm wrestled Justin Bieber and looked good working out in an empty gym, and to add to that list here is Embiid overpowering an average guy at Beach Bash then throwing it down. The man at least provided a little more resistance than a chair.