What the 76ers should do if the lockout ends

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This is the latest installment of PBT’s series of “What your team should do when the lockout ends.” Up next is the Philadelphia 76ers. You can also check out our thoughts on other NBA teams here as we work our way through all 30 squads.

After a miserable 09-10 campaign, the 76ers made their way back to respectability last season, earning a playoff berth and putting up a decent fight in the 1st round against the eventual conference champion Heat. Despite #2 overall pick Evan Turner having a disappointing season, the 76ers responded to new coach Doug Collins, and were one of the 10 best defensive teams in the league. Here’s what the 76ers can do to build on last season’s playoff birth:

1. Make a decision on Andre Iguodala

The 76ers owe Iguodala approximately 14 million dollars this season and next season, and Iguodala has a $15 million player option for the season after that. At this point in his career, we know who Iguodala is: a great perimeter defender who’s a terror on the fast break, can contribute without the ball in his hands, can make open threes on occasion, and a player who is not capable of being an efficient #1 option offensively. The 76ers have to decide whether they want to move ahead with Iguodala, which would probably make them better in the short-term, or try to get rid of his contract and go into more of a full rebuild mode — again.

2. Get more out of Evan Turner

One year after an absolute monster campaign at Ohio State, Turner struggled throughout his rookie season. Turner averaged only seven points, four rebounds, and two assists per game last year, and is PER was an ugly 10.87. It’s way, way, way too early to give up on Turner, but he needs to make major strides in his sophomore campaign. Turner needs to get comfortable shooting from beyond the NBA three-point line, figure out how to break down defenses with his passing, and go to the hoop more aggressively when he decides to drive.

3. Continue to believe in the youth movement

Thaddeus Young, Louis Williams, and Jrue Holliday all had promising seasons for the 76ers, and were among the main reasons the team made it into the playoffs. Marreese Speights had a down year in 2010-11, but he had been showing a lot of promise before this season. If those players continue to develop, Turner finds his game, and the 76ers can find a way to seamlessly transition out of the Brand/Iguodala era, they could be a very good team for a while under Doug Collins.

NBA fines Kyrie Irving for profanity directed toward fan in Philly (VIDEO)

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We were waiting for this moment this weekend and now it’s here. Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for cursing at a fan in Philadelphia after the Celtics beat the 76ers.

This comes in the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins getting fined the same amount for getting into a similar altercation with a fan.

The NBA released the news Sunday in a statement issued through their PR department.

Via Twitter:

If you haven’t seen video of the incident, you can watch it below. Fair warning, there is obviously some very NSFW language in the media the ahead.

For what it’s worth, Irving said that he did not regret saying anything to the fan.

Via ESPN:

“At the end of the day, we’re human. It’s in heat of the moment and frustrations arise, we were at halftime, we were down by 4, in an environment, a season-opener in Philly. Being with a young team like we have here and staying composed, handling that before we go in the locker room and addressing what we have to do in the locker room and going out and handling business and getting the W, that’s really the only thing that matters to me.

“It’s up to the league at this point. But, like I said, I’m going to take full responsibility for what I said. I don’t have any regrets for it.”

Boston’s next game is on Tuesday at home against New York.

Bobby Portis apologizes for punching Nikola Mirotic in the face (VIDEO)

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As if this season wasn’t going to be hard enough for the Chicago Bulls, it started off on the wrong foot when Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic got into a fight during practice. That fight resulted in a facial fracture for Mirotic, putting one of Chicago’s best players out for multiple weeks.

Portis addressed the issue this week by apologizing to fans, the team, and Mirotic. However, Portis said that he has not heard from Mirotic since the fight, and that he did not respond when he tried to call his teammate.

Video of Portis’ apology is interesting if only because it’s a bit hard to discern the level of sincerity.

Via Twitter:

Chicago is 0-2 on the season. Portis is in the middle of serving an 8 game suspension for the incident.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scores career-high 44, dedicates game to father

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — After scoring a career-high 44 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo wrote a note on the game ball.

“This is for daddy. We got a win tonight,” the 22-year-old Milwaukee Bucks player said, remembering his father, Charles, who died last month at age 54.

Antetokounmpo scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, including a dunk that put Milwaukee ahead 111-110 with 11 seconds to go.

After a timeout, Damian Lillard found Jusuf Nurkic running open down the lane, but Antetokounmpo blocked his shot at the basket, sending the 7-foot center crashing to the floor.

Antetokounmpo, starting his fifth NBA season, made 17 of 23 shots with eight rebounds and four assists as Milwaukee kept pace with a Portland team that had dominated its first two opponents. The Bucks star is averaging 38.3 points through three games, up from 22.9 last year, 16.9 in 2015-16 and 12.7 in 2014-15.

“Seventy-nine more. This is just the beginning,” he said, thinking about how many regular-season games remain.

After Nurkic was rejected at the basket, Khris Middleton was fouled and made both free throws.

“They committed two guys to Dame, so somebody was going to be open,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said, referring to Lillard. “Turned out to be Nurk but they made a really good defensive play.”

Lillard scored 26 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter. CJ McCollum also scored 26, and Nurkic had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Tony Snell scored 17 points and Middleton added 16 for Milwaukee.

 

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant ejected at end of loss to Grizzlies

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Stephen Curry is going to get fined for this.

The former MVP was frustrated, his team losing and thinking he was fouled by Mike Conley as he attacked the rim late in the Warriors loss in Memphis Saturday night. Curry threw his mouthpiece at the referee, which deservedly got him ejected instantly.

Durant followed him to the locker room, making a gesture that will earn him a fine as well.

The Warriors are 1-2 to start the season and there are a lot of factors at play. The China trip does this to teams, and throw in three straight trips to the Finals on top of it and it has an impact. The team is a little banged up. However, the biggest issue is their defense is a mess right now.

The Warriors will straighten it out eventually, but the start of the season could be a rough one for them.