The Sixers could use a point guard who can effectively get the ball into the post for guys like Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. They have a few PGs on the roster — Tony Wroten, Isaiah Canaan, Pierre Jackson, Scottie Wilbekin, T.J. McConnell — but none are particularly thrilling.
Free-agent guard Kendall Marshall is finalizing a multiyear contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, league sources told Yahoo Sports….
Marshall has been rehabilitating a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Chapel Hill, N.C., over the past few months and worked out this past week for the 76ers in Philadelphia. Marshall is expected to return sometime in the first half of the upcoming season, league sources said.
The Sixers are still in the tanking/rebuilding/however-they-wish-to-define-it mode and so being patient to get a known quantity point guard until the second half of the season is not an issue.
Marshall is just 24 and could develop into a reliable point guard — he can dish the rock but has question marks just about everywhere elseAt least he can be a respectable trade chip for the Sixers, so the deal makes sense for them. Just don’t expect more wins because of it.
“I think it’s really going to help me as a basketball player overall, especially at [power forward],” Noel said of the daily workouts. “[It will] help space the floor with my ability and start hitting the jumper consistently and complement our whole offense. And, you know, just changing my whole game and how effective I am….
“It’s a pressure year for me to show what I am capable of and definitely show what I worked this hard for,” Noel said of the coming season. “So I think I’m in a good position to showcase it all. My ceiling will be better at the four position.”
As a practical matter, Noel has to develop some shooting range and step out as a four if he wants to be a Sixer. Rookie Jahlil Okafor is the guy who will be getting the majority of post touches next season, plus there is the possibility of true center Joel Embiid playing the season after that (if his foot heals). The five spot is pretty full in Philly. Noel has to play the four.
Big men considered one-dimensional can develop reliable jumpers, just ask Blake Griffin. The Sixers reconstructed Noel’s shot, and it’s something he worked on last season at practices and before games. But it was going to require more time and more intensive training, which is what he got this summer.
If he can start to step out to 15-18 feet and knock down shots, his entire game will change — and a Sixers team without enough shooting (Nik Stauskas here’s your chance) can certainly use it.
But everyone has seen that shot chart, Noel is going to have to prove it first.
It’s Friday night, you can either go to a bar and watch guys get rejected by the cute redhead and her friends, or you can just watch the best rejections of the last NBA season right here. Take your pick.
Nerlens Noel and DeAndre Jordan, of course, have a couple good ones, but my favorites belong to Kemba Walker and Blake Griffin.
Jahlil Okafor on upcoming rookie season: “My role is to dominate”
The Sixers have been looking for a franchise centerpiece for several years. In the last three drafts, they’ve taken big men with high ceilings, and the first two, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, have battled injuries at the beginning of their careers. Embiid is out for the upcoming season after re-fracturing a bone in his right foot, which will open up plenty of room for this year’s No. 3 overall pick, Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, to get minutes. Okafor says he’s ready to assume the mantle of franchise player.
Okafor won’t have much help as he begins his NBA journey. Nerlens Noel, a wiry first-team all-rookie power forward, is expected to serve as a defensive complement to Okafor, but the 76ers currently only have four other players on the roster selected in the first round. And, Joel Embiid, the third pick of the 2014 draft, won’t make his NBA debut for at least another season after reportedly re-breaking the same right foot that caused the 7-foot center to miss all of last season. Okafor doesn’t believe his responsibilities to the organization will change with Embiid sidelined.
“My role is to dominate,” Okafor said. “I’m one of the centerpieces of the team, so my role is the same.”
Okafor’s former Duke teammate Tyus Jones also offers a ringing endorsement of Okafor in Lee’s story:
“He’s a winner,” Jones said of Okafor. “He’s someone who is going to work his tail off in the gym. And try to learn at the same time. Him being a competitor, he hates to lose, so he’ll bring a winning culture to that franchise and he’s going to help them out a lot.”
Throughout much of last college basketball season, Okafor was the presumptive No. 1 pick in the draft. He fell to No. 3 after the Lakers surprisingly took Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell second. He’s still considered an elite, potentially franchise-changing talent at center, and showed flashes of that at Summer League. If he emerges as that level of player in his first season as a pro, it will go a long way in advancing what has been a controversial and interminable rebuilding process so far in Philadelphia.