Khris Middleton, Grant Hill

Grant Hill, Scott Perry emerge as candidates to become Pistons general manager

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With Joe Dumars out as general manager, the Pistons need a replacement.

Pistons owner Tom Gores promised a long search, and given his history with coaching changes, I bet he’ll deliver. So, I suspect many names will be reported as candidates, but here are the first two.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Perry worked 10 seasons for the Pistons, including one season overlapping with Gores’ reign, before becoming the Magic’s assistant general manager prior to last season. He rose through the ranks in Detroit beginning in 2000, leaving for one year to work for Sam Presti in Seattle, then returning to Detroit. That means he had a hand in the Pistons’ rise and fall – much like the ousted Dumars.

But perhaps Perry could shore up the Pistons’ long-standing coaching deficiencies. He has much more experience in the field than Dumars, serving as Eastern Kentucky’s head coach and working as an assistant at Michigan, Cal and Detroit Mercy.

Hill, on the other hand, has no management or coaching experience. Heck, he was still playing in the NBA last season. Since, he’s worked in television. Unless Gores is willing to commit to letting Hill learn on the job, there would assuredly be costly growing pains.

Perry and Hill are both bright and widely considered to have bright futures. The major difference is Perry has relevant experience to back up his readiness.

If Hill, the former Pistons player who’d be the much splashier hire, wants to become a general manager, he could probably put himself in position by landing a less front-office job and learning the ropes – or finding an owner who values the splashy hire.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).

Dario Saric blocks back-to-back Raptors dunk attempts (video)

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Norman Powell – get out of here.

Jared Sullinger – get out of here.

Dario Saric blocked consecutive dunk attempts in the 76ers’ 94-89 win over the Raptors. Philadelphia has won seven of nine and looks suddenly revitalized.

The best part of all this? Saric’s teammates’ reactions – though the actual blocks were pretty great themselves.