Philadelphia looked everywhere outside the organization for a replacement for Rod Thorn as team president and GM. They wanted Danny Ferry but he went to Atlanta. They talked to former Blazer guy Tom Penn and former Hornet GM Jeff Bower but that didn’t come together. They made a run at Nuggets’ GM Masai Ujiri but he stayed put.
So in the end they stayed in house.
Multiple reports Friday morning have the Sixers promoting assistant general manager Tony DiLeo to the big chair. He will take over for Thorn when Thorn retires. The formal announcement is expected later Friday.
What that really means is coach Doug Collins has the power — he has been a primary force in basketball decision making for a while now. Not bringing in a guy with clout from the outside means Collins keeps ahold of the reins.
This also means consistency with the plan — the Sixers are building around Andrew Bynum (who they must re-sign after this season), Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday. That likely would not have changed with a new GM, but now the plan is locked down. Well, as long as they can lock those guys down.
Nobody expected what happened Tuesday night in the Bay Area.
If you had said “San Antonio would beat Golden State by five” most people would have said that’s a possibility — but nobody saw a 29-point thrashing. A game where the Spurs were never threatened and where Kawhi Leonard looked like the MVP.
What does it mean? In this PBT Extra I talk about how the Spurs showed the Warriors they have some work to do on the defensive end. The Warriors clearly miss the rim protection and rebounding of Andrew Bogut, and they are going to have to make that up as a team (because Zaza Pachulia is no Bogut). The Warriors also have 81 more games to figure it out.
Cleveland, on the other hand, has it figured out.
An astounding 86% of general managers said one year ago Anthony Davis was their preferred choice to build a franchise around.
An underwhelming season by the Pelicans put Davis in a strange light, and he ended the year sidelined due to injury.
Asked the same question this year, general managers gave Karl-Anthony Towns took a plurality of votes. Davis also plunged behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
Well, Davis sent a message to those who no longer view him as an elite franchise cornerstone. His opening-night performance:
- 50 points
- 16 rebounds
- 5 assists
- 7 steals
- 4 blocks
The last player to score 50 in a season opener was Michael Jordan in 1989. No player since at least 1983-84 has matched Davis’ stat line across the five major categories in any game.
Yes, New Orleans lost – 107-102 to the Nuggets. But Davis’ teammates shot 36% from the field and 18% on 3-pointers.
Davis produced an all-time great individual performance. That the rest of the Pelicans couldn’t keep up says only so much.
He just knows how to make a splash in season openers.
Sevyn Streeter said the 76ers prevented her from singing the national anthem at tonight’s game because she was wearing a “WE MATTER” jersey:
“The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community.”
This is a continuation of Carmelo Anthony‘s argument: The emphasis should be on action in communities and there’s no longer a place for gestures like Colin Kaepernick kneeling.
But this needn’t be an either/or discussion. Community-based action is obviously important (though don’t assign responsibility to NBA players to fix racism). Recognizing the width and depth of the problem is necessary – which is why symbols matter, too.
Take Street’s shirt at face value. “We matter.” “Black lives matter.” What’s so offensive about that? There is no implicit “more” attached.
Yet, the 76ers found it antithetical to their brand.
This is why the widespread “unity” message preached by arm-locking NBA players left so much to be desired.
To the 76ers, unity meant silencing Streeter.
Is that what players were demonstrating on behalf of during the preseason? I’m sure that arena was much more united with a 76ers dancer singing the anthem than it would have been with Streeter spotlighted. But sometimes divisiveness is necessary to advance a cause.
If the 76ers don’t want Streeter using their platform to say “WE MATTER,” that’s their right. Not everyone has to support that choice, though.
No NBA players followed Colin Kaepernick’s lead by kneeling during the national anthem in the preseason.
But that courageous form of protest still found its way onto NBA courts.
A national-anthem singer knelt before a Kings game, and other did at a Heat game.
Another singer wanted to take a bold stance for the 76ers’ regular-season opener against the Thunder tonight by wearing a “WE MATTER” jersey, but she said the team stopped her.
A 76ers dancer performed the anthem instead:
The 76ers deserve some latitude to choose how someone uses their platform. But what about claiming black lives matter is antithetical to the 76ers’ brand?
The team did not immediately respond to request for comment. I will update if it does.