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.
Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.
There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.