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Brandon Jennings compares Knicks to Wizards, ‘a team that actually plays together’

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The Knicks were so finished with Brandon Jennings, they outright waived him. No buyout, just a straight willingness to pay him to go away.

Now with the Wizards, it doesn’t sound as if Jennings misses New York.

Jennings, via Keely Diven of CSN Mid-Atlantic:

“I’m in the same position I was in New York, but just in a better system for me personally and with a team that actually plays together,” he said.

Jeff Hornacek’s system was fine for Jennings until the Knicks re-emphasized the triangle, but that was after Jennings left, anyway.

I’m more interested in Jennings insinuating the Knicks didn’t play together. That definitely appeared to be the case from the outside, but it’s another level when a former insider raises the issue.

New York’s lack of cohesiveness is a shared failure between Carmelo Anthony, Phil Jackson and Jeff Hornacek.

Anthony hasn’t been the type of leader who instills an atmosphere of cooperation. His isolationist offensive style lends itself to separation, and he hasn’t shown an ability to rally his teammates in a way that counteracts that.

Jackson exacerbated those problems by acquiring Derrick Rose and Jennings, two score-first point guards with only limited efficiency. Rose especially has struggled to fit into a cohesive team dynamic as he looks to find his own way post-injury.

And then there’s Kristaps Porzingis, New York’s budding star who’s too talented to fade into the background. He’ll find touches, no matter how much disarray around him.

The Knicks’ divisions are particularly felt on defense, where all five players rarely execute together. It’s seemingly only a matter of time until the unit breaks down. That falls to Hornacek, who has failed to implement a sound defensive system. And, no, assigning defensive duties to Kurt Rambis doesn’t excuse Hornacek. Ultimately, this falls on the head coach.

Jennings hasn’t been shy about criticizing the Knicks — even while playing for them, as Diven tracks. But they’re also 26-39. Criticism is warranted, and Jennings’ appears fair.

For a couple grand, Warriors fans can have Larry O’Brien Trophy visit their suite

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There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.

If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).

Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.

Sixers new “Spirit of 76” court is fire

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First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.

Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).

The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.

Here is the promo vid

I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.

Wizards’ Markieff Morris to have sports hernia surgery, miss start of camp

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When the Washington Wizards open training camp next Tuesday, starting forward Markieff Morris will not be on the court.

That’s because he will have surgery to repair a sports hernia, a story broken by Candice Buckner of the Washington Post and since confirmed by Chase Hughes at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

While we don’t have details on the surgery, often recovery time for this is just a few weeks, and Morris could well be ready for the start of the season.

Morris averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, and the Wizards offense was 5.7 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court last season. With him out, coach Scott Brooks can lean on Jason Smith or Mike Scott for traditional lineups, but don’t be shocked if he tries a little small ball with Otto Porter and/or Kelly Oubre at the three or four.

Morris also is in the midst of a felony assault trial in Arizona (one where he does not need to attend).

Sixers enter camp with Joel Embiid not cleared for 5-on-5, Jahlil Okafor on trade block

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This is the season the 76ers make the leap from team with potential to playoff team fast on the rise.

Maybe.

That’s the plan in Philly, but there are a lot of questions for this team to answer. While a couple of these issues are answered already — Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are cleared to play and practice with teammates — a couple big ones still hang around. At the top of the list is “how healthy is Joel Embiid?” Coach Brett Brown doesn’t even have that answer yet, reports Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

It’s this simple: The Sixers outscored opponents by 3.3 points per 100 possessions when Embiid was on the court last season, he was a dominant force defensively who scored 20.2 points a game. When he was off the court the Sixers were 11.5 points per 100 possessions worse. They need him to play and play consistently if the Sixers have playoff dreams. It’s unclear when Embiid will return, but know that the Sixers will be cautious with his minutes again when he does get cleared (he has played just 31 games in three seasons).

Does that mean more Jahlil Okafor? Maybe not, the Sixers are still willing to trade him.

The Sixers have shopped Okafor for most of a year and found no deal they like. Okafor battled knee issues last season and, after a summer working to get healthy, other teams will want to see him play a little before talking trade. If he comes to camp slimmed down and his knee looks right, it could revive trade talks. Using a back-to-the-basket game, he averaged 11.8 points a night shooting 51 percent last season, he’s efficient, and some teams could use what he does (off the bench).

It’s going to be an interesting season in Philly. Are they playoff bound?