Tag: Philadelphia 76ers


No rest for Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks’ rookie working to add weight, sharpen game


Kristaps Porzingis impressed at Summer League in Las Vegas — he looked like he belonged among the top bigs such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor. Porzingis averaged just more than 10 touches a game at Summer League and was efficient, scoring 1.024 points per possession (better than Towns or Okafor). Porzingis showed a high basketball IQ, good passing skills, the ability to play inside, and his defense was better than advertised.

But he was also clearly a project — he’s very thin and very raw.

So he’s in New York now working on adding weight and sharpening his game. You still have to love his attitude in what he told Marc Berman of the New York Post.

“I’m in between happy and my normal calm,’’ Porzingis told The Post. “I’m not thinking: ‘I did good in summer league — now I’m going to do good in the NBA.’ Our training camp will start later and I have to prove myself once again, play as hard as I can and earn my minutes. That was just summer league — a few games to see how I compare to other rookies and get a taste of American basketball.’’


He took a little vacation back home to Latvia after Summer League but is now back working out at the Knicks facility.

“At home I was working out with my brother [Janis] a little bit, lifting weights, going to the gym, getting shots up, but I just wanted to relax a bit,’’ Porzingis said. “Once I’m here full time now, I can just concentrate on eating a lot, lifting a lot and getting stronger…

“I thought I would go home and rest, but it was all interviews, media stuff,’’ he said. “A lot of interest back home, too, kind of intense. Just the last few days I went to the beach.’’


Knicks fans shouldn’t expect too much out of Porzingis his rookie year — looking good at Summer League and looking good in an NBA game are two very different things. He’s got to add muscle, and that will take time. Plus just adjusting to the length and athleticism of NBA players, plus learning where he fits in the triangle, will be a process. 

But you can see the potential. Knicks coach Derek Fisher did.

“Just how it complements so many different players and situations,” Fisher said in Las Vegas. “I think defensively he complements guys because of his length and his rim protection. He’s pretty active and can guard multiple guys. I think offensively because of his ability to stretch the floor and do some things around the basket as well. I think he’s a player that fits with just about any lineup, no matter how you’re trying to play. So I think that versatility has been obvious during Summer League.”

Jason Thompson happy with stability of Warriors after seven years in Sacramento

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings

Stability and continuity matter in the NBA.

No team is ever static, but there can be continuity of vision and a player core, and that matters. That’s what wins. It has mattered for the San Antonio Spurs for pushing two decades, and that stability has turned them into the model franchise in the league. More recently, Atlanta finally has some stability of system under Mike Budenholzer and they jumped to the top of the East with 60 wins (even while we debate if they can sustain that).

Then there are the Golden State Warriors. Since new ownership came in they have stuck with their vision and it paid off with a ring and a parade.

After seven seasons in Sacramento, Jason Thompson was traded to the Warriors (via Philadelphia) this summer and is excited by the idea of stability, he told the Associated Press.

“I haven’t been around much winning this past seven years,” said Thompson, sitting in the Warriors downtown practice facility Thursday. “A lot of instability with seven coaches in seven years, 180 teammates and things like that. That doesn’t ever lead to winning. To come to an organization that has and coming off a championship, that’s great for myself.”

The other thing stable organizations do is create competition for playing time — Thompson is going to have to earn minutes that could go to Festus Ezeli or Marreese Speights.

The obvious take away from what Thompson said is another insult piled on the Sacramento Kings. And it is that. But he’s also not wrong or alone. DeMarcus Cousins’ frustrations with the Kings have been over this same issue of instability of system (and players).

I don’t know that the Vlade Divac/George Karl combination is the answer in Sacramento — and I’ve got plenty of questions about their lineup, too — but Vivek Ranadive, stick with one combo and style for a while. Give this plan a chance to take root and work before you decide to rip it out and start over. This isn’t fantasy basketball, stability and continuity matter. A lot.

Report: 76ers to sign Jordan McRae a year after stashing him

Philadelphia 76ers v Utah Jazz

J.P. Tokoto is apparently weighing it now – whether to sign with the 76ers or not after they drafted him with the No. 58 pick.

Last year, Jordan McRae went to Philadelphia late in the second-round. He rejected his required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed and at the minimum – the 76ers had to offer to keep his rights. Instead, he signed in Australia, and he played for Philadelphia’s D-League affiliate after the Australian season ended.

Jake Pavorsky of Liberty Ballers:

The only way for a player to attend training camp is with an NBA contract.

Like last year, Philadelphia had to offer another tender to keep McRae’s rights. Perhaps, he’ll get more as a result of his loyalty. He did the 76ers a big favor by going overseas – spending a year developing without taking up an NBA roster spot or making NBA money.

Because he rejected the required tender last year, McRae can negotiate only with Philadelphia now for an NBA contract. Had he accepted the tender, he would have either forced his way onto the team last season or gotten waived. If he had gotten waived and then gone the overseas/D-League route, he could have now negotiated with any NBA team. The only apparent potential downside would have been if the 76ers – coached by Brett Brown, who previously worked in Australia – helped secure McRae a better overseas job than he could have gotten anyway.

Surely, Tokoto is watching how Philadelphia treats McRae. This situation will be telling about whether it’s worth it for second-round picks to allow the 76ers to stash them.

Jahlil Okafor: “Rookie of the Year is one of the goals I set for myself”

Utah Jazz Summer League

Jahlil Okafor looked in Las Vegas like a guy who could be in the mix for Rookie of the Year — he has an NBA body that he knows how to use to create a little space to operate, and when he does he has an array of moves to score. In Las Vegas he averaged 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, he shot 43.8 percent, and while he’s still a rookie who is going to have a steep learning curve, you can see the potential.

He wants to win Rookie of the Year, he told Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com during the Sixers annual Beach Bash event (video above).

“For myself, before the season I just need to make sure I’m prepared. I don’t know what to expect, I’ve never played in the NBA, but Rookie of the Year is one of my goals I’ve set for myself, my personal achievements. As for the team, I want to get better. We’re a rebuilding team right now, but (we should) go out there every day and compete.”

After seeing guys in Summer League and thinking about touches and opportunities they will get in the season, I would say Okafor and Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay should be the preseason favorites for the award, with Karl-Anthony Towns and Stanley Johnson lurking in the background. That said, they’re  rookies, which makes them inconsistent and this award very difficult to predict preseason.

What we do know: Okafor is having fun with the fans and making friends in Philly already.

Jahlil Okafor helps one kid dunk, brutally blocks another (VIDEO)

Jahlil Okafor

On Saturday, the Sixers held their Beach Bash event in Philadelphia, giving fans a chance to interact with the players, including No. 3 overall pick Jahlil Okafor.

Here’s Okafor helping a little girl dunk:

And he followed that up with a monstrous block of another young fan’s three-point attempt: