Dante Exum

Report: Dante Exum, Marcus Smart to work out for Sixers this weekend


The Sixers have seven picks in next week’s NBA Draft, but the ones that are of the most interest fall at the three and 10 spots.

Andrew Wiggins is believed to be the player that Philadelphia has its sights set on, but short of trading up for the number one overall pick, there are too many scenarios in play for the Sixers to believe that he’ll be there when they’re actually on the clock.

And after hearing the news that Joel Embiid would need foot surgery that would likely sideline him 4-6 months, Philadelphia needs to re-evaluate things — so much so that they are having two players in for workouts that most had going firmly after that three pick that the Sixers currently possess.

Exum has a bit of a mysterious vibe given that he’s Australian and has only played overseas, but many believe his polished game and upside are worthy of a top-five selection.

Smart also appears to be a high lottery pick, though his ability to be that prototypical point guard has come into question — not that the Sixers need that, necessarily, with Michael Carter-Williams already in place.

What this speaks to more than anything is the fact that no one knows how the draft will shake out now that Embiid’s status has crated huge questions for teams wondering about his long-term durability. He may turn out to be just fine once he recovers, but the surgery will affect his draft stock — and since it’s unclear what Embiid’s situation will do to the top of the draft order, the Sixers are making the wise choice in bringing in as many top prospects as possible.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.