It’s going to be hard to be a Philadelphia 76er this season. It’s no joy to be a fan of them this year, but the losing that everyone knows is coming will not be fun for coaches or players either.
It can be tough to build good habits, a good work ethic in the midst of getting smoked eight out of 10 times you walk on the court. The Sixers lost their last four preseason games, all by double digits, and while you can say “it’s just preseason” this is one trend likely to carry over into next week. It’s not a matter of effort from the players, it’s how management chose to put together a team.
Thaddeus Young is trying to be a leader this season and to teach his young teammates how to be professionals in the face of adversity, as he told Gordie Jones at CSNPhilly.com.
Young said he has talked to his teammates, telling them, “We can’t lay down for 82 games. It’s a long season. If we lay down for 82 games, it’s going to be an even longer season. Guys are going to get frustrated. Guys are going to get stressed out.”
I’ll ignore the incorrect use of lay/lie to say Young is right.
The challenge for the Sixers through this season will be building a foundation for future success. When the losing piles up and piles on the motivation to keep working, to keep doing things right fades. It can be a cancer that destroys the foundation they are trying to build. It’s one of the risks of this strategy, of going bad to get good — even if you land Andrew Wiggins in the next draft, you may need to clean house to change the team culture again so you can grow with him.
Brett Brown has a tough job ahead as a coach for the Sixers this season. At least he has Young on his side.
“I have to help lead,” he said. “I have to help teach them. I’ve been talking to Coach, each and every day — basically just going in there (to Brown’s office) and going over a lot of game tape. I’m learning on the fly, and I have to teach on the fly also. … Sometimes it does get to you a little bit, but with these guys, they listen. They try to retain all the information we’re putting in. They’re very receptive.”
The Wizards look like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Tim Frazier.
But they also looked like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Trey Burke and then Brandon Jennings last year – and look how that turned out.
So, even after trading for Frazier, Washington is still trying to increase stability behind John Wall.
The Wizards added some depth to their backcourt on Thursday by signing veteran guard Donald Sloan to a one-year deal, CSN’s Chris Miller confirmed on Thursday night.
The 29-year-old Sloan has played for the Hawks, New Orleans Hornets, Cavaliers, Pacers and Nets in a five-year NBA career. He spent last season in China.
Sloan isn’t much of a scorer, and he’s only a decent distributor. But he makes up for it with all-around adequacy, highlighted by his rebounding for his position.
The veteran will compete with second-year Sheldon Mac, whose salary is just $50,000 guaranteed, to be Washington’s third point guard.
Nigel Hayes became a cult hero at Wisconsin for bringing a “BROKE COLLEGE ATHLETE ANYTHING HELPS” sign to GameDay and soliciting Venmo donations, challenging the stenographer in a press conference and “accidentally” calling a stenographer beautiful in front of a hot mic.
After going undrafted, Hayes and his colorful personality are headed to New York, where Knicks fans are starving for fun.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Could Hayes stick into the regular season? The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one more spot for a player on an standard contract. Chasson Randle has an unguaranteed salary that becomes partially guaranteed around the time training camp opens. The Knicks could also sign other players, though they’re down to just minimum exceptions.
Hayes – a 6-foot-8 forward – has a chance, but he’s most likely ticketed to New York’s minor-league affiliate after being waived by the parent club.
The Rookie of the Year race is wide open heading into next season.
It’s that way every year — if you had predicted Malcolm Brogdon was going to win a year ago, you would have been laughed out of the building — but this coming season has a lot of talent at the top of the board who could win. Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum all have a real shot — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Who is the better favorite? Depends on where you do your betting.
The William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook (which works with a number of Las Vegas casinos, such as the SLS), has this (hat tip ESPN):
Lonzo Ball 9-5
Ben Simmons 5-2
Dennis Smith Jr. 4-1
Markelle Fultz 13-2
De'Aaron Fox 8-1
Jayson Tatum 8-1
The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has Simmons as the betting line favorite at 9-4
The online betting site Bovda.lv has this line
Lonzo Ball 9-4
Dennis Smith 3-1
Ben Simmons 5-1
Jayson Tatum 5-1
Markelle Fultz 8-1
Traditionally, Rookie of the Year goes to a guy who has the ball in his hands, is aggressive, and puts up raw numbers. It celebrates scorers.
This year a whole lot of guys can fit that bill, more than are mentioned here. It’s going to be a wild ride.
The NBA season is coming… and that means NBA 2K18 also coming.
To whet the appetite of you gamers out there, check out the first trailer for the upcoming game, with music by Mobb Deep.
You can pre-order the game now.