Kevin Ollie has never been a particularly great basketball player, but that didn’t stop him managing a long, consistent NBA run. From his rookie year to his career’s twilight, Ollie never averaged more than 6.5 points, 3.6 assists, or 23.1 minutes per game in any given campaign. He only registered a 10+ PER in five of his 13 seasons. Ollie took roster spots that may not have belonged to him, played wholly unspectacular minutes, and now will leave the league without making so much of a blemish on it; after 13 years and 15 teams, Kevin Ollie will finally hang them up and make the transition from player to coach.
According to Mark Deeks (a.k.a. Sham Sports), Ollie will return to his alma mater, UConn, to become an assistant coach. It’s a good move for Kevin, who has long been flagged as one of the “coach-in-playing” candidates the NBA has to offer.
Though Ollie’s NBA career was largely forgettable, he could really thrive as a teacher. Kevin was never the most talented athlete around, but the fact that he was able to stay in the NBA for so long does mean something. Even if the league’s obsession with recycling is partially to blame, Ollie worked hard to stay on the top side of the fringe, and he has a long career to show because of it.
The world goes on, and everything in free agency rightfully trumps Ollie’s transition. Still, Kevin could follow in the footsteps of other relatively unsuccessful NBAers who went on to be prominent coaches. After all, there has to be some secret in hanging around the league for so long despite being a sub-par athlete, an unheralded and undrafted NBA prospect (he actually played two years in the CBA before being picked up by the Mavs for the 1997-1998 season), and lacking in any one specialized skill.
After missing two entire seasons, all signs are pointing to 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally taking the court this season. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Embiid has looked great in his workouts and is on track to play in the preseason, and Embiid himself echoed that sentiment over the weekend. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Marc Narducci that he feels “100 percent.”
There’s always a possibility and fear that Embiid’s recurring foot problems will come back, but for now, all indications are that he’s feeling good and will be able to contribute this season, which should make Sixers fans excited.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.