Allen Iverson returns home with Big3, eager to please Philly fans

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Allen Iverson plans to run on that familiar court one more time, cup his ear the way he used to in his prime and implore his adoring fans to make more noise.

AI is back home, Philly.

“It’s exciting,” Iverson told The Associated Press. “I just want to give them a couple flashbacks of the time I had here. I love them. The only relationship like the relationship I have with Philadelphia fans is (Michael Jordan) in Chicago. It’s everlasting. They supported me all throughout my career, through all my ups and downs and that’s why I love coming back here. They’re the No. 1 fans in the world.”

Iverson returns to the floor at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night when the Big3 comes to town. The main event features two Philadelphia legends. Iverson’s 3’s Company team faces Julius Erving’s Tri-State team in the fourth game. Dr. J won’t be playing, though.

Iverson hasn’t done much of that, either. The former NBA MVP is a player-coach but he has spent more time coaching in the first three weeks. The 42-year-old has six points on 3-for-13 shooting.

“I’m going to do what’s best to get us the win,” Iverson said, explaining that he can’t guard bigger opponents in the post.

That’s just fine with Ice Cube.

“You gotta commend AI,” the rapper-actor told AP. “He’s trying to win. If he was on the ego tip, he wouldn’t sub himself out, even though he’s getting posted up. That’s the cool thing about it. You see guys’ real competitive juices going.”

No matter how little he plays, Iverson is an integral part of Ice Cube’s league of former NBA players.

“We don’t launch without AI,” Cube said. “We had names, we had players. But we didn’t have box office, we didn’t have that marquee name that you need to make a splash in a league like this. What’s great with him and Dr. J and playing in Philly, you have Dr. J who helped cement the ABA, and you have Allen Iverson establishing the Big3. Years from now, we can look back and say this wouldn’t have happened without AI taking a chance on us.”

Iverson, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last year, is enjoying the ride.

“Seeing guys give it their all and watching how the fans embrace it, guys putting on a show for them, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “These games haven’t been watered down. They’ve been competitive. I like the direction it’s heading. I’m happy to be a part of it. Years to come, I can brag to guys about being one of the first guys to play in the Big3 because it’s going to soar, man. It’s going to get bigger and bigger every year.”

Three weeks into Season 1, Ice Cube is already thinking ahead.

“I can definitely see the future of this league where guys step straight from an NBA court onto a Big3 court,” he said. “I think the competition is gonna get stiff. I’m pretty sure there’s some big names out there waiting to play the game and have fun. Everybody is having a ball – players, fans, the league.”

 

Report: Draymond Green facing potential discipline after fight with Jordan Poole

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Warriors practice got heated on Wednesday and Draymond Green reportedly escalated some chest bumping with Jordan Poole and punches were thrown. The team is now considering internal disciple, according to The Athletic.

When a heated interaction with guard Jordan Poole escalated, Green forcefully struck Poole and needed to be separated swiftly, sources said. Green and Poole came chest-to-chest, with both players pushing and shoving each other prior to Green’s escalation of the physical altercation, those sources said.

The two players had been jawing at each other when it escalated and Green punched Poole, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. There aren’t details of the incident beyond that description (at least so far), although several reporters have confirmed the was a fight and the two had to be broken up. Poole was seen getting up shots after practice when the media was allowed in and reportedly was joking with teammates.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports Tweeted out what feels like the Draymond Green camp spin on the incident.

Warriors elder statesman Andre Iguodala Tweeted out this on the situation, wanting to keep it all in the family, and adding that “it broke my heart… but it fixed my vision.”

There is a history of tension between Green and Poole, including a public flare-up between the duo early last season, but the two talked after and smoothed things over. At least for a while.

What punishment Green will face from the team remains to be seen.

Poole is on the verge of an extension to his rookie contract, one where Tylyer Herro just set the market.

Green had hoped for an extension from the Warriors this offseason but there were limited discussions between the parties. Green can opt out of the final year of his contract at the end of this season and become a free agent.

Wizards’ Kispert likely to miss start of season due to sprained ankle

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The Washington Wizards made fewer 3-pointers than any other team in the league last season. They didn’t take a lot (second fewest) and didn’t make the ones they took (fifth lowest percentage). One goal for Wes Unlseld Jr. this season was to change that dynamic, and second-year player Corey Kispert was a big part of that plan.

Now Kispert is out through at least the start of the season, sidelined 4-6 weeks by a sprained ankle, the team announced Wednesday.

The injury happened on a fluke play in Japan against the Warriors, but Kispert shouldn’t miss much time once the real games start. The Wizards are a little short on the wing right now with Kispert joining Deni Avdija (groin injury) in the training room.

Kispert took 62% of his shots from beyond the arc last season and hit 35% of them, both solid numbers but ones Wizards hoped would improve for the 6’6″ wing this season.

Scoot Henderson says he has skills to be No.1 pick but not hung up on it

Metropolitans 92 v G League Ignite
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Scoot Henderson came out like a man on a mission Tuesday night against the Metropolitans 92 and Victor Wembanyama — he was in attack mode. He used his explosive athleticism to get to the rim, his impressive body control to get off good shots, and his strength to finish with authority. And if the defender played back, he would drain the jumper over him.

A year ago, Jaylen Brown called him the best 17-year-old he’d ever seen. Scoot is better than that now.

Many years, Henderson would be a clear No.1 overall pick. But, not this year, Wembanyama has that crown because he breaks the mold with his size and skill set (in the NBA, height still wins out).

Kevin O’Conner of The Ringer asked Henderson why he should be the top prospect and got a confident answer.

There will be a lot of people making the Henderson case this season — and with good reason. He could be a franchise cornerstone player for the next decade.

Henderson, however, is trying not to get hung up on No.1 vs. No.2.

There’s a long list of legendary players selected No.2: Bill Russell, Kevin Durant, Jerry West, Jason Kidd, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Henderson can be one of them.

Unless Wembanyama’s medicals come back with red flags, he is destined to be the No.1 pick next June. That, however, will not be the end of Henderson’s story. Instead, it will be just the beginning.

Doc Rivers says he wants Harden to be ‘a scoring Magic Johnson’

Philadelphia 76ers Media Day
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We’re not in Houston anymore.

James Harden in Philadelphia will not be chasing scoring titles and dominating the game in quite the same way. Instead, he’s been asked to be more of a facilitator — but not too much of one. Doc Rivers told the team at ESPN’s NBA Today he wants scoring to go with the facilitating. Just like one of the all-time greats.

“I think we’ve talked so much about him being a facilitator… I need him to be James Harden too. If I had to combine, I would say a scoring Magic Johnson, I don’t know, but that’s what I want him to be. I want him to be a James Harden, but in that, I want him to also be the facilitator of this basketball team too. So in a lot of ways, his role is growing bigger for our team, and I just want him to keep thinking, ‘Do both.'”

Just play like Magic, no pressure there. For his career, Magic averaged 19.5 points a game (with four over 20 PPG) with 11.2 assists.

Harden can get close enough to Rivers’ lofty goals to make Philly a real threat, so long as defenders still fear his first step and step back. Harden can get his shot and get to the line, and he’s long been a great passer who has averaged 10.5 assists a game over the past two seasons. Now it’s just a matter of finding the balance of when to set up Joel Embiid, when to turn the offense over to Tyrese Maxey, and when to get his own shot.

Philadelphia is a deep team poised to win a lot of regular season games — the Sixers being the top seed in the East is absolutely in play. The questions Harden — and, to a degree, Embiid — have to answer come in May, when the second round of the playoffs start and Harden has faded while Embiid has had poor injury luck. In a deep East with Milwaukee, Boston, and maybe Miami and Brooklyn in the contender mix, there is no margin for error.

A Magic-like Harden would be a big boost for the Sixers in that setting.