Sunday, March 31, 2013

Allen Iverson bobblehead night a sad statement

Allen Iverson bobble head night seemed like a decent enough idea. Sure, it was an obvious play by ownership to put some fans in the seats, but there's worse ways to do it than honoring an all-time great and giving away a free bobble head.

But when it all boiled down, Allen Iverson bobble head night at the Wells Fargo Center was more sad than anything, and the sadness is layered.

Mainly it's sad that the Sixers have to use an ex-superstar, who hasn't played in several seasons, to sell tickets. How many times can you dive down the same well. Iverson deserves all the adulation that is given to him, but having him trot out to midcourt and wave to sell some extra tickets just seems, well, sad.

The organization hasn't had much to celebrate since the days that A.I. wore an actual Sixers jersey on the hardwood, rather than an over-sized Phillies pullover, and that became increasingly evident as the Iverson highlight montages that played during timeouts quickly became the most exciting aspect of the Sixers/Bobcats contest.

And that's the problem. It's fine to glance backward as long as you're focused forward, and after years of consistent inconsistency, it's tough to see where the Sixers are staring.

Despite that at least sixty percent of the crowd was only there to pay tribute to A.I., the WFC was still a Red Sea of empty seats, and that reflects poorly on both parties.

It's sad to see Iverson as a retired relic, rather than the dynamic superstar, and the fans have made it clear that they could care less about any current player compared to Allen.

Iverson played his part, soaking up the cheers while sporting several gold chains, assuring fans he's fine financially, even if he isn't.

For a second it was almost like 2001 all over again. But then it wasn't, for either Iverson or the 76ers.

At this point, both parties need to pocket the past, and focus on the future.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Philadelphia 76ers lottery options


The Sixers are facing an uncertain offseason: coaching questions, a probable plethora of personnel moves, and, of course, they still have to determine the best course of action for Andrew Bynum.
Despite the uncertainty, it is safe to say that the Sixers are a lock for the lottery. For much of the season it seemed as though they may be able to make a playoff push, but at this point it has become obvious that the team is eliminated from the postseason.

Thus, the organization should be looking toward the lottery.

The Bynum move was a bust, and without a deep list of franchise-changing free agents available this summer, it may be time for the Sixers to build the old-fashioned way: through the draft.
Some teams (Boston, Miami and New York, among others) have been able to remake themselves recently without developing through the draft over the course of several seasons. These teams were able to attract top quality talent through free agency, which clearly won’t be the case for the struggling Sixers.

So with that being said, it’s time to take a look into this year’s lottery and point out some players who may be available to help the franchise going forward.

1. Alex Len, Maryland: If the Sixers don’t re-sign Andrew Bynum this summer, the team will surely be on the market for a big man. Kwame Brown and Spencer Hawes are the only other true centers currently on the roster, and neither has a real future with the franchise.

Len is an extremely athletic seven-footer with developing offensive ability. He has a nice touch and is able to shoot over others because of his size. He is quick and nimble on his feet and can finish well around the basket, as well as being adept at offensive rebounding. He is extremely long and can serve as a deterrent on the defensive end. He may very well develop into a solid starting center in the league.

2. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh: An explosive scorer who has been somewhat overlooked by playing at Lehigh, McCollum averaged around 20 points per game in each of his four college seasons, and has the ability to get to the basket and create his own shot.

It is no secret that the Sixers struggled to score this season, and adding one of the most prolific scorers in college basketball couldn’t hurt. However, at 6’3’’, McCollum’s size is somewhat of a concern. With Holiday penned in as the starting point, McCollum would be playing mainly shooting guard minutes. Starting him and Holiday together, while potentially explosive, could also be an issue as the two could easily be oversized and overmatched. Still, scoring is an area the team desperately needs to address this offseason, and it happens to be McCollum’s specialty.

3. James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina: An interesting option here. While McAdoo doesn’t directly address any of the Sixers glaring issues, the potential might be too much to pass up. At 6’9’’, 220 pounds, McAdoo is a little more fit for forward than fan favorite Thaddeus Young.

While he will certainly needs to add some strength, McAdoo can do a lot on the court, and would be able to fill a lot of holes for the 76ers, especially if Young is used as trade bait this summer.

4. Victor Oladipo, Indiana: Not too popular among Philly fans right now after the dagger he hit to take Temple out of the NCAA tourney, but Victor Oladipo may be an option for the 76ers.

Oladipo is a hard-nosed player who can get it done defensively. He is extremely active and athletic, and his hard-working habits would make him a good fit with any franchise. His lack of offensive ability is a drawback, as the Sixers desperately need scorers. But again, if Evan Turner is traded this summer, Oladipo may be a replacement option.

5. Cody Zeller, Indiana: This option follows the same logic as an Alex Len selection. If Bynum does not come back the Sixers will need a replacement in the post, and Zeller may be among the best available. Though he may not be the most exciting option, Zeller has had a solid career at Indiana, and could contribute at the NBA-level.

Like Len, Zeller is athletic for his size, and is an efficient and effective scorer. He would need to add bulk to bang with other bigs in the NBA, but he could provide the Sixers with a nice post presence.

Keep in mind these possible picks are based on the premise that, while the Sixers stunk this season, they didn’t stink enough to give themselves a good chance at a top-tier pick. They are currently projected as having a 0.8% chance of winning the lottery. So assuming popular early picks like Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, Kansas' Ben McLemore, and Georgetown's Otto Porter are taken, these are the options the Sixers may be working with. A lot can change between now and June, but there is no doubt that the franchise needs to begin preparing for the future.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Flyers Bobby Clarke & Bernie Parent enshrined in statue

 From Pattison Ave:

"It looks like we can add to the list of historic sports statues in Philadelphia.

At XFINITY Live! on Saturday, March 30, at 11:00 a.m., Comcast-Spectacor will unveil a new, seven-foot-tall, bronze statue celebrating one of the most iconic moments in Philadelphia Flyers hockey history.

The 400-pound statue, which will be unveiled in front of the Broad Street Bullies Pub, depicts legendary Flyers Bob Clarke and Bernie Parent hoisting the Stanley Cup after the team’s back-to-back championships in 1974 and 1975.

The monument is sure to be a fan favorite among Flyers fans, who are actually tasked with naming the statue. Flyers fans are encouraged to visit and cast their vote for one of these name options: Victory, The Cup, Broad Street Bullies, Flyers Champions, or Walk Together Forever.

The selected name will also be announced at the ceremony, which will be attended by both Clarke and Parent, as well as team Chairman Ed Snider and President Peter Luukko.

The unveiling coincides with the one-year anniversary of the popular XFINITY Live!, which has been dubbed “Philadelphia’s fourth stadium.”

Since the Flyers haven’t given us much to celebrate this season, it feels right to pay homage to their history. It is sure to be an exciting day in South Philadelphia."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Why can't Dwayne Wade sell shoes?

For the past decade, Dwayne Wade has been the quintessential NBA superstar. 

He is explosive and exciting on the court, a fan favorite off it, and he is even one of the few popular media targets painted positively. 

His name is one of the most recognizable amongst current players, and his international popularity has only increased since he teamed up with fellow superstar LeBron James in South Beach.  

Thus, logically you would think Wade would be a lock for serious shoe sales. Players of his caliber and level of fanfare usually have a bunch of brands begging the player to put their name on a product. Jordan, Carmelo, Kobe, and LeBron can all be associated with a shoe line. 

Wade’s explosive ability and popularity would seemingly make him an ideal player to push products. A cool nickname like “Flash” seemed to work in his favor as well, as you could almost envision Nike building a line, complete with an annual signature shoe like the ‘Nike Air Wade’, around his ‘Flash’ persona.

However, throughout his career, for whatever reason, Wade has been unable to carry a signature shoe.
He started off with Converse, which hasn’t been hip with the NBA crowd since the days of Dr. J. Not surprisingly, the deal didn’t last too long, and you would be hard pressed to find any remaining pairs still floating around. 

Looks like a dream team.
Next up for Wade was a stint with Jordan Brand that by all accounts should have been successful. Since MJ retired, the Jordan Brand has elevated itself to the top of the athletic shoe game, and has spawned successful lines for other superstars such as Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony. 

Many thought the high-flying Wade would be a great fit with the air-associated Jordan Brand, but for whatever reason, the shoes didn’t sell. Sure, the Air Jordan Fly Wade could been seen on shelves for a couple seasons, but they didn’t create the buzz expected from a superstar’s shoe. 

So, before this season started, Wade was on the move again. For a guy that has only called one NBA franchise home for the entirety of his career, he sure has sampled some shoes. 

This season however, Wade did the unexpected, and signed with Chinese brand, Li-Ning, little known on this side of the sea. 76ers’ forward Evan Turner is one of the few who sports the shoes in the League at this point, but the brand is looking to break into the NBA.

It was a monetary move for Wade, who will be benefiting from a nice contract from the Chinese apparel company, so maybe it makes sense in that regard. However, it still seems kind of strange to have one of the NBA’s biggest stars sporting a little known foreign footwear company, rather than building their own brand.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Andrew Bynum undergoes season-ending knee surgery

The other evening the 76ers announced season-ending knee surgery for center Andrew Bynum.

This is kind of comical because I didn't even know the season started for the big guy.

No but seriously, the whole Bynum situation, though it began with good intentions, has been a disaster, and the Sixers should seriously cut ties with the seven footer.

Even his high school coach didn't have anything positive to say about Bynum, and when ever does a high school coach not heap praise on, and take some credit for, a professional protégée?

All signs, including the ones delivered directly from Bynum, indicate that the Sixers should go in a different direction for the future, and I hope that the knee surgery isn’t a sign of something else.

The Sixers gave up a lot to get Bynum, and letting him walk without playing as much as a single second in a Sixers uniform would be hard to swallow for Sixers’ ownership, but it just seems smart for the future of the franchise.

If you can’t get enough to read about Bynum, check out this excellent article from the Inquirer’s Phil Sheridan on how a deal meant to make the Sixers major players actually had the opposite effect.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Guy caught picking his nose on national TV, winks at camera

This video doesn't need too much of an introduction. It is gross and shocking, and completely hilarious, so I thought I should share.

This fellow's, um, nose-scratching session took place during a timeout at Thursday's Knicks/Blazers game.

During much of the "picking" it appears that the man is unaware that he is squarely centered in the camera's focus, but the wink at the end leads you to believe that he was well aware of his actions all along.

It is unfortunate that the announcers were unaware of what was happening directly behind them, because that could have made for some good television. Check the video out for yourself below:

Philadelphia may be home to a new USFL franchise


Philadelphia may be getting a new football franchise.

No, the city isn’t going to house two NFL teams a la New York, but rather it may be reintroducing a USFL franchise.

The original United States Football League, a direct NFL competitor, lasted only three seasons despite housing some serious talent and receiving decent fanfare.

The Philadelphia Stars may be making a comeback.
A quarter of a century later, the league is looking to make a comeback, but billing itself as a sort of minor league to the NFL’s major, rather than a competitor.

Although originally reported to be looking to set up teams in non-NFL cities, a recent tweet from senior analyst Gil Brandt reveals that Philadelphia will be one of the new USFL’s inaugural teams.

Brandt lists New Jersey, San Antonio, and Oakland as other inaugural cities in the tweet.

While details regarding the developing league are few and far between, a press release from the official USFL site states that the league is looking to kick off its inaugural season in the spring of 2014.

"We're going to play in the spring when fans are dying for football,” explained the new USFL’s original CEO, Jaime Cuadra.

“Rather than compete for players, we're going to take players who didn't quite make it to the NFL and develop them and give them unfettered access to the NFL,” Cuadra continued, detailing why the new league will fare better than the original.

"The NFL can come to practices; if they want one of our players, we aren't going to stop them.”

Cuadra feels that the league can thrive as a proving ground for NFL prospects, rather than a separate top tier professional league.

Philadelphia’s original USFL team, the Stars, were one of the short-lived league’s most successful squads, and their return would be sure to excite some.

Although the return of the Stars is not set in stone, as very little about the league seems to be at this point, come next spring Philadelphia may be home to a new football franchise.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sixers won't have to pay Andrew Bynum's salary this season

If Andrew Bynum doesn't play a single game this season, and it doesn't seem like he has any desire to do so, at least the Sixers are off the hook for his ($16.9 million) salary.

According to Yahoo!, the Sixers have insurance on the Bynum investment, and should he not suit up a single second, his contract should be fully covered. Bynum will still be paid, just not by the 76ers.

No, Bynum doesn't deserve a single cent for his effort for the Sixers this season, but sometimes in the NBA seven foot stiffs with nacho knees can still make seventeen million.

So there is still a sap in this story; someone still has to pay Bynum a huge chunk of change to alter his hair style ever other week. But, for once, at least that sap isn't the Sixers; they've suffered enough this season.


In other news, Charles Barkley said the Sixers shouldn't resign Andrew Bynum, meaning that they really shouldn't, as the Round Mound of Rebound is always right.

ESPN suspends Bill Simmons from Twitter

From Pattison Ave:

Bill Simmons is often credited with being one of the most powerful personalities at ESPN. He has legions of loyal followers and fans and is among the company’s most-read contributors.

However, even someone as popular and powerful as Simmons can still get in trouble with the old boss from time to time.

According to Deadspin, ESPN has suspended Simmons from using Twitter for a few days after he used the social media service to criticize a segment on a First Take telecast.

Simmons called the segment, in which Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman verbally attacked ESPN personality Skip Bayless on air, “awful and embarrassing.”

These tweets apparently violated ESPN’s social networking guidelines, and Simmons has since been silenced.

The suspension however will not be a long one, as Deadspin reported that Simmons will be able to freely use the social media site again sometime today .

This suspension is not the first time Simmons has been at odds with ESPN’s policies. In 2009 he was suspended from using Twitter for two weeks after he referred to some ESPN radio affiliates as “deceitful scumbags.”

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More time for Moultrie

I wrote this over the weekend for Pattison Ave., but didn't get a chance to get it up on ATA until now. 

The Sixers' streak-snapping victory over the Nets last night didn't change anything, the team should use the rest of the season to see what Moultrie, and other unproven players are made of:

"With last night’s loss in Miami, it seems pretty safe to say that the Sixers will be missing the playoffs this season. No, they’re not mathematically eliminated, but their inconsistent and uninspiring play doesn’t lead one to believe that they can string together the serious winning streak that it would take to make a playoff push.

However, instead of focusing on a forgettable season, management and fans alike should try to pull the positives out of the remaining 2012-2013 campaign.

One such positive is the increased exposure and promising play of rookie Arnett Moultrie, who has been buried on the bench for much of the season.

Moultrie, who spent a single season at Mississippi State after two at UTEP, had an ankle injury that sidelined him at the beginning of the season. Struggling to learn a new system while rehabbing proved difficult for Arnett, who saw very little action in the opening months of the season.

On top of this, Coach Doug Collins is notorious for withholding playing time from young players, as he did with Evan Turner, a number two overall pick, during his first two seasons. This aspect of his approach to coaching is among the most criticized of Coach Collins and in all likelihood, Collins probably wouldn’t have played Moultrie major minutes if he were completely healthy and comfortable with the Sixers’ system.

Throughout the first half of the season the Sixers were very much in the playoff picture. They were also still under the impression that Bynum would eventually be back to help the team with the playoff push, making it even more unlikely that an unproven rookie could crack Collin’s rotation.

Now that it’s clear that Bynum probably won’t be back and the Sixers have little more than an outside shot at an eight seed however, Collins feels he has little left to lose, might as well see what Moultrie is made of.

Moultrie’s minutes have shot up substantially over the past two months, going from a mere 3.5 minutes per game in January to a full fifteen minutes per contest thus far this month. Though his numbers for the month of March aren’t overwhelming; 6 points, 3.8 rebounds per, they represent improvements and an increasing confidence in his own play.

In his limited time on the court, Moultrie has shown that he can play hard on each end of the floor, and he happens to have a great nose for the ball; he often seems to be in the right place at the right time. He has demonstrated a prowess for offensive rebounding (2.4 a game during the month of March) and securing extra possessions for the Sixers as well.

Though his post game needs to be polished and he needs to develop some semblance of a jump shot, Moultrie is a good finisher, and can put down a put-back or an alley-oop without a problem. He is extremely athletic for his size as well, which will help his development and utility for the team.

With continued development, Moultrie might be able to morph into a Josh Smith type player, which would be great for the future of the franchise. But in order to improve, Moultrie needs to continue to get minutes, and if he does, his development may serve as one of the few bright spots for the Sixers this season."

Friday, March 8, 2013

Derrick Rose cleared to return to action

Derrick Rose has been officially cleared to play by his doctor.

That statement alone should have Chicagoans celebrating in the street, as many feel that the Bulls, with a healthy Rose of course, have the best chance of halting the Heat and heading to the NBA Finals out of the East.

To their credit, Chicago has done a decent job of holding their own without the 2011 NBA MVP in their lineup, and they currently sit at sixth in the Eastern Conference.
2010-2011 NBA MVP

However without Rose, one of the most unique and explosive players in the entire League and the unquestioned leader of the team, no one sees Chicago as a serious threat. But, as soon as he is inserted into the lineup the Bulls become an immediate contender, who matches up favorably in the frontcourt against the likes of Miami.

Chicago’s celebration needs to be halted, at least for now however.

Despite being cleared for game play, Derrick will delay his extremely-anticipated return until he can confidently dunk off of his left foot.

According to ESPN, Rose has been videotaped dunking off of each foot already, albeit more casually than he would in a game, and the superstar wants to make sure he feels completely ready before returning to action.

"I would love to return. I would love to,” Rose stated on February 13, the last time he spoke publicly. “That's why I approached my rehab and my workout so hard. I'm trying to get back on the court as quickly as possible, but if I have anything lingering on, it's no point."

A huge part of Rose’s game revolves around exploding to the basket and taking hard hits, so one can understand his desire to feel fully functional in this area before returning to action.

The Bulls are not pressuring Rose to return, but Chicago would certainly like to see him on court this season. A source told ESPN that while the Bulls will support whatever decision Rose makes, they would rather he return this season to “get it under his belt.”

Rose’s return to the Bulls lineup would make the remainder of the regular season more interesting, and could transform Chicago into a true contender come playoff time.

But before Rose can push the Bulls deep into the playoffs, he first needs to be able to push off of his left foot. Bulls fans and Heat haters alike are hoping that happens sooner than later.


Catch the original article on Pattison Ave

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

76ers going global

Since they're not having much success in the United States this season, the 76ers decided to try their luck overseas next season.

Well, kind of.

As part of the NBA's Global Game schedule (David Stern, anyone?) the 76ers will play 2 preseason games in Eurpoe.

The first of the two contests will take place on October 6th in Bilbao, Spain. Their opponent will be Uxue Bilboa Basket.

The next game, taking place two days later on October 8th, will be in Manchester, England with the Sixers squaring off against the Thunder.

The Sixers, along with the Thunder, are 2 of the 8 teams slated to travel overseas next preseason. The other six squads are: the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls, and Indiana Pacers.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sixers should focus on free agency

Wrote this piece over the weekend for Check out the full article there, but most is below.

In the article I forgot to mention Al Jefferson as a potential free agent prospect, as he might be a nice fit in Philly. Check out the full list of 2013 free agents here.


“I don’t want to play in pain.”

That statement right there should send strong signals to the Sixers about Andrew Bynum’s attitude going forward.

No one wants to play in pain, but for a seven foot center who hasn’t played a single second this season, and has been unable to string together consecutive healthy seasons in his seven years in the League, playing without any pain may prove impossible.

Bynum’s seemingly laissez-faire attitude about returning to action, exemplified by the fact that he has shown no perseverance to push through the pain, should serve as a sign to the Sixers that the two should probably go their separate ways after the season.

Recent word out of 76ers camp however, is that the team and Bynum are considering arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in order to clean out loose cartilage; a procedure that would end Andrew’s season before it even began.

Al Jefferson might be a nice fit in Philly.
Officially loosing Andrew for the remainder of the season wouldn’t be all that disappointing, as Sixer fans have grown quite accustomed to seeing the big man on the bench. The more disturbing aspect of the supposed surgery is that it means that to some extent the Sixers are considering bringing Bynum back.

If the Sixers were completely sold on letting Bynum walk this summer, then no such surgery would be suggested or discussed, as it would be another team’s issue.

Rather than consider surgery, expect Andrew to rehab hard, and develop some sort of pay-for-play contract, the Sixers should abandon Bynum and focus on free agency.

With Bynum off the books this summer, the Sixers should have an ample amount of cap space to pursue other players; ones that can actually contribute on the court.

While this summer isn’t teeming with talent like a couple years back when the likes of LeBron and Dwayne Wade were on the market, there is still a plethora of players that would be great additions to the Sixers; and at a better price than Bynum.

For instance, a solid scorer such as OJ Mayo or Kevin Martin could be added in addition to a powerful low-post presence, for a similar price to a max contract for Bynum.

David West, Paul Milsap, Carl landry, and J.J. Hickson are all serviceable big men who will be available this sumer. Their names don’t necessarily jump off of the page, but they can all produce, and hey, at least they will play, so they have Bynum beat there.

Rather than subjecting themselves and their fans to more seasons of uncertainty surrounding Andrew Bynum, the Sixers should cut their losses, and begin to build a new future for the franchise.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tony Parker injury all but wraps up MVP award for LeBron James; Heat have best Harlem Shake video

MVP candidate Tony Parker went down with an ankle injury last night, and if we have learned anything about Spurs' coach Greg Popovich, we probably won't see Parker again until the playoffs.

The Spurs will be fine, as they have already stacked up a nice record for themselves (best in the NBA to be exact) and are generally excellent at plugging in pieces to combat the wear and tear of the regular season.

Thus, the part that sticks out about this story is the fact that Parker's injury all but seals up the NBA MVP award for LeBron James.

LeBron, who is already a three-time NBA MVP and is arguably playing some of the best ball of his career, probably would have taken the hardware home anyway, but Parker was a popular pick to challenge 'The King' for his crown.

You can mention Kevin Durant and Chris Paul as contenders, as both have been playing excellent ball this season, but in all actuality with Parker out of the picture,  LeBron will likely coast to his fourth MVP trophy.


In other news, I have largely ignored all of the "Harlem Shake" videos that have been popping up all over the internet, especially considering that the Harlem shake, an actual dance move, doesn't appear anywhere in the videos.

The Miami Heat however, did an excellent job with their own version of the dance, and I found it quite entertaining.

I love the bond between the players that the video displays, and the fact that a team can be completely focused on the court but still manage to have fun off of it; that's how it should be. Props to LeBron and the gang for this hilarious version.

My personal favorite parts are Birdman's flapping introduction, Lebron's Terry Crews-esque dance moves, and Mario Chalmers dressed up as Super Mario. Check out the video below:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Derek Fisher was a great postseason pickup for the Thunder

When the Thunder began their bid to repeat as Western Conference champions by trading away their best bench player, budding superstar James Harden, I was skeptical.

However the move, which could have been crippling to almost any other franchise, has been majorly mollified by the continuously stellar play of Kevin Durant and even Russell Westbrook. The Thunder, as a whole, don't look noticeably worse without "The Beard" on their bench.

Fist-pumped his way to 5 titles.
But, when the Thunder dealt backup PG Eric Maynor at last week's trade deadline, I was again skeptical. Depth is extremely important, especially for a team that plans to push deep into the playoffs. I thought the Maynor move left the Thunder very vulnerable, with Reggie Jackson as the only insurance to the explosive, and at times reckless Westbrook.

Thus, the recent re-signing of Derek Fisher, who is familiar with the team from his stint in Oklahoma City last season, was a perfect postseason pickup for the Thunder.

Fisher brings with him his five championship rings and a plethora of playoff experience; an ideal addition for a team looking to take that final step to championship status.

Yes, Fisher is old, but with Westbrook and Jackson taking up most of the minutes, it will likely be his leadership rather than his legs that the Thunder value Fisher for. When Fisher is actually out on the floor, he serves as a hard-nosed floor general with a high basketball IQ, who is unafraid to take, and make, the big shot. 

For a team looking to play deep into June, and in need of a some dependable backup point guard play, Derek Fisher was a great postseason pickup.